Tabitha Vande Voort first wanted to become a firefighter after a tree fell on her father while she was still in grade school.
That desire solidified about 12 years later, thanks to a few quiet words of encouragement from the man who now leads the Oconto Fire and Rescue Department.
Vande Voort is now, another decade later, one of eight full-time career firefighters for the Department.
“It’s pretty awesome being the first female full-time firefighter in Oconto,” Vande Voort said after receiving her badge in a pinning ceremony March 12.
Fire Chief John Reed, noting her achievement was “quite an undertaking,” heartily agreed.
Green Bay Press-Gazette
The trial is being pushed back for a former firefighter accused of trying to kill his aunt in a series of arson fires.
Keith Kauppi, 30, of Pleasant Prairie, is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree homicide. He is accused of setting fire to the couch where his 70-year-old aunt was sleeping at his parent’s Pleasant Prairie home in June 2017.
That aunt was initially charged with arson after an investigation by Pleasant Prairie Police. But within days of the Pleasant Prairie fire, authorities in Illinois charged Kauppi with setting fire to two different homes in Illinois where the same aunt had been living in 2016 and 2017.
Investigators there allege Kauppi had been stealing money from his aunt and set the fires to cover that up.
The Hales Corners Fire Chief wants one of his captains fired.
Captain John Wagner is accused of sexual harassment and jeopardizing public safety.
With 24 years of fire and emergency medical experience, he'd been hired as a fire prevention captain for the Hales Corners Fire Department. A year and a half later, Chief Martin Freibergs filed disciplinary charges against him.
The Chief told the Police and Fire Commission that Wagner was found to have sexually harassed a 19-year-old subordinate, asking her several questions about her sex life.
The Chief also says that in January, Wagner left the station in the middle of a shift.
No one else on duty was able to drive a fire engine and when there was a car fire, Hales Corners had to call Greendale to put it out.
Wagner's lawyer didn't respond to calls or emails from CBS 58 News.
The Commission President said Wagner has appealed the charges against him.
WDJT-TV CBS 58 Milwaukee