Society

'Unfireable' Female Firefighter In New York Gets Seventh Chance To Complete Running Test

| by Nicholas Roberts
FDNY.FDNY.

A woman who failed the running portion of the New York City Fire Department physical test six times before will reportedly get another chance.

Wendy Tapia, 34, was allowed to graduate, conditionally, from New York's Fire Academy in May 2013, the New York Post reports. This was despite the fact Tapia failed the required timed run of 1.5 miles in 12 minutes or less.  

The New York Post first reported on Tapia in November 2013, where it reported FDNY gave Tapia five deadlines to meet to pass the exam. She did not pass any of them, but rather than starting over with the next academy class -- as is procedure -- Tapia was allowed to graduate.

Another female firefighter told the New York Post at the time: “I don’t know how she got to graduate. It never should have happened. You should not graduate if you can’t meet all the requirements -- male, female, black or white.”

Tapia, who was at one point deemed "unfireable," eventually quit FDNY.  Now, she is back, and due to the department's eased physical standards and its settling of a federal discrimination lawsuit for $98 million. Some critics believe this time, Tapia will easily graduate.

“She’ll graduate, no question,” said one FDNY member. “The department doesn’t want another black eye.”

The New York Post reports that Tapia had originally graduated after the United Woman Firefighters pressured then-Commissioner Salvatore Cassano to allow Tapia to graduate before passing the physical exam.

After failing the test for the sixth time in 2013, Tapia blamed the failure on a foot injury and returned to her former job as an EMT. UWF President Sarinya Srisakul had blamed Tapia's failures on stress fractures she sustained while she went through the Fire Academy, as well as on the New York Post's coverage of Tapia.

“She’s small and they overtrained her,” Srisakul reportedly told the Village Voice.

Tapia is set to begin an 18-week training program on Dec. 28 for EMTs promoted to probationary firefighters, according to the New York Post.

Sources: New York Post (2) / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons