First Female Deputy Chief on Duluth Fire Department

Updated: November 14, 2019 12:27 PM

She's a familiar face with the Duluth Fire Department. And now, Marnie Grondahl is the first female chief-level officer in the department's history.

Duluth Fire Chief Shawn Krizaj appointed Grondahl to be the next Deputy Chief of Life Safety and Administration.

She's served in the role of Interim Deputy Chief since May, and was the Fire Marshal for about eight years prior. "The department is ever changing and it's a lot different from the very first year I stepped in. [When] there was just kind of breaking ground and not really women in the fire service," said Grondahl.

Chief Krizaj says "Marnie is currently the most senior member of the Duluth Fire Department," and her 32 years of service "continue to show through her leadership and knowledge of fire safety and her overall passion to keep the public safe. It is an honor to work with her, and I am proud to have her serve as a Deputy Chief."

Grondahl replaced Chief Krizaj, who served the Deputy Chief role until August of this year when he was promoted to Fire Chief.

In her role as Deputy Chief of Life Safety and Administration, Grondahl will lead the Fire Prevention Life Safety Division. The division primarily handles commercial fire inspection, fire investigations and commercial housing.

"She knows more than anybody on the department on any of those specific topics, so I think she's a great fit and I'm real excited to have her," said Chief Krizaj. 

Grondahl began her career with the fire department as a firefighter, working her way up to Fire Marshal and now Deputy Chief. 

"In the beginning kids didn't even know women could be firefighters, you know, they were like 'wow there's a woman fireman' they used to say. So I mean it's come a long way and it's opening more and more doors for women," commented Grondahl. 

Chief Krizaj expressed that her promotion is not only an exciting step forward for women in the department, but in the city of Duluth as well. Grondahl is one of 15 women on the Duluth Fire Department force, that's about 10 percent of their staff.

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


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