Danae Mines is an 11-year veteran with the FDNY and is one of New York City’s few female firefighters. Next March, Mines will also be the first woman the first woman featured in the FDNY Calendar of Heroes, even though she was initially told the calendar honor was only for men.
“I was told that it was all guys,” Mines, who is assigned to Engine Co. 60 in the South Bronx, told the Daily News.
“They said if I made it in the calendar, I would look like a pinup girl.”
But that didn’t stop her from attending an open call and breaking the gender barriers.
“I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me I couldn’t do what I wanted to do,” she said. “I was determined.”
Mines was surrounded by 100 men at the audition, and admits to feeling intimidated.
“I was a little scared,” said Mines. “I was the only female.”
Her dreams of becoming a firefighter began when she was just 10 years old after one of the city’s Bravest visited her school to talk about the job.
But her family told her that she should consider another career, because only men joined the FDNY.
“I had absolutely no support from my family when I wanted to come on the job,” she said.
Mines became an EMT and, despite her family’s requests, accepted a promotion to become a firefighter in 2003. And she hasn’t been able to stop her relatives from gloating about her ever since.
“Once I graduated (from the Fire Academy), it was the complete opposite,” she said. “They could not stop bragging.”
Despite being one of 41 women firefighters in the department, Mines said she’s faced with no more challenges than any other man on the job.
Mines didn’t end up looking like a pin-up model, as you can tell from the photo. The proceeds from the calendar goes directly to the FDNY Foundation to promote fire safety education for city residents, as well as new equipment for the firehouses. But Mines said she had a bigger reason in doing the calendar.
“I wanted my picture in the calendar so that young girls and young women can see me and know that they can do this job,” she said.