Bronx native become's city's first gay, female fire department chief

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FORT GREENE -

A Bronx native has made history by becoming the city's first-ever female and openly gay fire department chief.

Lillian Bonsignore made history when she took over the FDNY's EMS Department from retiring Chief James Booth. Ranked with four stars, Bonsignore has served as deputy chief of the EMS Academy for 28 years.

Bonsignore will supervise and oversee over 4,000 first responders.

"I had no idea I would be standing here surrounded by my friends and family receiving the greatest honor of my life," says Bonsignore.

Bonsignore had not always intended to be a first responder -- she had plans to go to medical school and took on the EMT position as a temporary summer job.

"I'm only one woman accepting this position, but it was through the efforts and examples of many strong woman along my path that made this possible for me," says Bonsignore.

Her milestone wasn't the only one on Tuesday. Assistant Chief Alvin Suriel was also appointed, making him the first Hispanic member in his position.

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