Reporting Gigi Barnett
HALETHORPE, Md. (WJZ)—A Baltimore County paramedic is being hailed a trailblazer.
As Gigi Barnett reports, no other African-American woman has reached her rank.
Congratulatory e-mails for Bianca Thompson floods her inbox.
“I don’t think it’s set in yet,” she said. “It’s still surreal.”
Last month, Thompson received a big promotion in the Baltimore Fire Department. Her new title: EMS Lt. Bianca Thompson, Baltimore County Fire Dept.
“I’m the first African-American female officer…lieutenant in fire,” Thompson said.
The new Lt. Thompson put in for the promotion two years ago.
She waited… and waited…then the phone call came.
Thompson joined the department shortly after 9/11.
“That was my epiphany,” she said. “I realized what I wanted to do. I wanted to help people. So a month to the date after 9-11, I resigned from the FBI.”
Thompson now has several paramedics, firefighters and equipment under her command.
Firefighters say she’s blazing the trail.
“I’m happy for her and happy for the department,” said firefighter Wayne Simmons. “Now, she’s making history.”
But Thompson says her goal is to get others like her to the rank of lieutenant and beyond.
“I don’t want to stay the only. And, I’m not going to stay the only. I expect a lot of my peers to come behind me,” she said.
Thompson’s promotion ceremony doesn’t come until next month, but the hard work starts now. She takes over her new rank this weekend at the Halethorpe Fire Station.
In addition to saving lives and putting out fires, Thompson also owns a successful jewelry company.