Woman who failed FDNY test six times is given a seventh chance

Before you read this article by the New York Post, we would like to make it clear that we at H&H have NO issues with women in the fire service. We are only reporting fire related news and current events.

We would though like to hear your comments and see your feedback on this situation. We would also like to see if you have had situations like this at your department?


“A woman who six times failed the physical test to become an FDNY firefighter is being given another chance — and this time, critics say, the fix is in.

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

Wendy Tapia was allowed to conditionally graduate from the Fire Academy on May 17, 2013, even though she had failed the running test.

After swearing her in, the FDNY gave Tapia five more chances to run the required 1.5 miles in 12 minutes or less, but she couldn’t do it. She quit — never having worked a tour of duty.

Now Tapia, 34, is getting yet another chance to join The Bravest. She’s among a group of emergency medical technicians promoted to probationary firefighters and set to start the 18-week training academy Monday.

Tapia’s return comes as the FDNY has quietly eased its standards to ­admit more women.

After paying $98 million to settle a federal lawsuit charging bias against ­minority applicants, the city is loath to face a gender-discrimination suit, sources say. Women firefighters number only 49 in the 10,500-member force.

At the end of her last Fire Academy stint in 2013, Tapia blamed her failure to pass the running test on a foot injury.

United Women Firefighters, a group of active and retired FDNY women, persuaded then-Commissioner Salvatore Cass­ano to let Tapia graduate — and pass the test later.

She was assigned to ­Engine No. 316 in East Elm­hurst, Queens, but never worked a shift.

Over the next six months, she failed the test five more times. After the sixth try, she finally ­resigned and returned to her former EMT job.

At the time, UWF president Sarinya Srisakul blamed Tapia’s running failure on stress fractures in the academy — and The Post’s coverage.

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

The FDNY hunted insiders it suspected of leaking information on Tapia.

Lt. Elizabeth Osgood, who objected to Tapia’s special treatment, was barred from promotion for months. Capt. Paul Mannix, the president of Merit Matters, a group opposed to quotas, was forced into silence.

Reached by phone last week, Tapia hung up on a reporter.

FDNY spokesman Jim Long refused to comment on Tapia, but said, “All who enter the academy must meet the same requirements in order to graduate.””


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-Article from the NewYork Post (Article Credit)

-Photo Credit: Paul Martinka



  1. I’m not going to bash the FDNY they are a busy Dept. But I will no longer look at them in the way I use too. I understand what they are doing but it needs to stop. This goes for all individuals, if they can’t meet minimum standards without having them altered then they have no business on the job.

  2. There is a perception from the article that she has the drive and passion to finish, 2 necessary traits of a firefighter, but those are only 2 of the traits.

    My 2nd Lieitenant in my fire career was a women’s Combat Firefighter Challenge Natuonal winner and the women I work with are some of the most dedicated firefighters I’ve known.

    A friend (and female) Fire Medic shared with me once, talking about her peers, if they can drag their partner to safety who may be bigger then they are the rest isn’t important.

    Some people have the skills, talent and drive to be a firefighter and some do not. In a day and age of the Fire Service we find ourselves in, completition of the Academy and mastering it’s physical requirements is your entrance into this Brotherhood setting you apart from everyone else.

    As much as I would want everyone who has a passion for a dream of being in the Fire Sevice to realize this dream, maybe this candidate should realize their dream and their path are in 2 different directions.

  3. FDNY spokesman Jim Long refused to comment on Tapia, but said, “All who enter the academy must meet the same requirements in order to graduate.”” –


    We can’t call 911 for someone to rescue us.
    You need to be able to rescue our own.

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