By Cathy Locke
Published: Sunday, Apr. 18, 2010 / The Sacramento Bee
When the men of the Citrus Heights Fire Department were called to military duty during World War II, the women stepped in to fill their boots.
Recruited by Fire Chief Eugene Desimone, the women of the Citrus Heights Ladies Auxiliary were one of the earliest all-women fire crews in the nation. They were trained to drive fire engines, fight fires and handle other homefront emergencies.
Their work and that of their post-war successors, the Ladies in White, is showcased in an exhibit that opened Monday at Sunrise Mall and will run through April 25.
"It's an aspect of World War II that is largely unknown," said Teena Stern, chairwoman of the Citrus Heights History and Arts Commission, which organized the display of photos, uniforms and rescue equipment, including a 1934 fire engine and Ol' Rescue, the 1953 Pontiac station wagon that served for years as the community's emergency medical vehicle.
The Ladies Auxiliary was disbanded in 1947, but in 1951 the women were called back into service as the community's volunteer rescue squad. They were known as the Ladies in White for the white coveralls they wore.
Marsha Bichel, 61, served with the group from 1971 to 1975. Her husband, Richard, spent 30 years as an engineer with the Fire Department and the couple are the proud owners of Ol' Rescue. The vehicle was outfitted with a gurney, resuscitator and first-aid equipment.
FOR COMPLETE ARTICLE - CLICK IMAGE Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/04/18/2686665/women-stepped-up-when-citrus-heights.html#ixzz0oaCF0KeF
Last Revision Date: 4/30/10 - 8:45 PM