Susan Pipitone-Braley, Everett’s First and Only Female Firefighter
By Lorenzo Recupero
Everett’s first and only female firefighter, Susan E. Pipitone- Braley (below), passed away on August 1, 2018, succumbing to cancer nearly a year after her battle with the disease had begun.
She served Everett residents for 25 years — on active duty until the day she died –in both fire prevention, which covers code enforcement and fire investigations amongst other things, and her last 12 years on the force as the driver/engineer of Engine 1.
During her time as engineer of Engine 1, Pipitone-Braley teamed with Fire Chief Anthony Carli, an 18 year veteran of the force who recalled his time working by her side.
“She was a team player through and through,” said Chief Carli, who was captain of Engine 1 at the time. “When she went under treatment for 6-7 months, she tried to come back for about a month before it again became to much,” said Carli remembering how passionate she was about her job. “She really wanted to be back,” he said.
In 1993 Pipitone-Braley, who is from Haverhill, MA. and originally from Long Island, was sworn in as the city’s only female firefighter. And for over two decades it wasn’t her gender that made her stand out, either.
Instead, it was who she was as a person that made her unique to the Everett Fire Department.
“She took a lot of pride in being the first female [in the department], but I always took it as she never took her job for granted more than anything,” said Chief Carli.
Deputy Chief Joe Hickey echoed his superior’s sentiments during the wake held at Rocco’s Funeral Home.
“I worked with [Susan] on fire prevention during our time and she was a great fire inspector and great person, she knew her job and did it very well,” he said.
According to chief Carli, firefighter Pipitone-Braley will be remembered for more than just being a woman in a predominantly male profession.
“She was always smiling,”said Carli. “Everyone liked her around. She was pretty funny, too. She had a lot of other passions as well, though. She was really creative, and did things like ride her motorcycle into work, fly fishing, and was even a pretty average musician,” he joked light-heartedly.
With Pipitone’s passing, the Everett Fire Department is without a single female in the ranks, something Chief Carli laments.
“We love a diverse department, and we don’t have that now, but we will continue to strive for that,” he said.”I don’t know what brought [Susan] here to Everett, but we are happy she came,” said Carli.
During the funeral, the Everett Fire Department rendered her full honors, including the honor guard marching her to the Woodlawn Cemetery alongside two ladder trucks, including her Engine 1.