Here is the story of Molly Williams, an African American cook for New York City's Fire Company 11 who is considered to be the first known female firefighter in U.S. history.
New York City’s Fire Company Number 11 is in trouble. A deadly snowstorm is blowing, and many of the volunteers are sick in bed. When the fire alarm sounds, who will answer the call? Who will save the neighborhood? Molly Williams, the company’s cook, for one! Clapping a weathered leather helmet on her head, strapping spatterdashes over her woolen leggings, and pulling on heavy work gloves —it’s Molly, by golly, to the rescue. Young readers will enjoy plucky Molly Williams’s legendary adventure as they learn how fires were fought in the early 1800s.
Ochiltree and Kemly share the little-known story of Molly Williams, an African-American woman who, in the early 1800s, went from cooking for New York City's volunteer firefighters to battling blazes alongside them as the first female firefighter. The men of Fire Company No. 11 adore Molly's hasty pudding and apple tansey, but when a fire breaks out during a blizzard, she races outdoors to warn the neighborhood, then helps haul out the pumper engine, carry buckets, and combat the fire. Kemly's snow-streaked illustrations show Molly as a woman of determination and strength, and a sense of both danger and heroism radiates from the story. Ages 7 10.