Petaluma’s Lone Female Firefighter Resigns; Sources Say She Was Sexually Harassed
PETALUMA (KCBS) — Petaluma’s sole female firefighter turned in her resignation this week amid allegations that she was sexually harassed and that her living conditions in the fire house lacked adequate privacy, according to anonymous sources familiar with the department.
Andrea Waters was only the second female firefighter in Petaluma history, and had been praised by the department’s fire chief for her dedication and hard work. She resigned on May 23.
When she began in 2012, the department created a makeshift sleeping area for her, apart from her male colleagues. A curtain was also installed for her in the shower area but two sources, with the direct knowledge of the department, told the Petaluma Argus-Courier that firefighters could still see her undress and allegedly made inappropriate comments.
“They didn’t treat her like everybody else,” one source told the Argus-Courier. “She really had to put up with a lot.”
Both sources spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Petaluma Fire Chief Larry Anderson told KCBS that city policy forbade him from commenting on the matter.
“We’ve had a few employees recently resign and in each case we are not permitted (to comment) out of respect for the employees,” he said.
Anderson did say, however, that although Waters was the sole female firefighter, there were several others who worked for the department.
“We have two in administrative roles, two as sworn public safety inspectors/fire investigators (who are women),” he said.
Waters has not commented publicly and a representative of Petaluma Firefighters Local No. 1415 told KCBS that he had no knowledge of any issues regarding sexual harassment.