Bonnie Bleskachek was named chief of the Minneapolis Fire Department in November of 2004, and was sworn in on January 13, 2005. Minneapolis thus became the third-largest fire department in the country to have a woman chief.
Bleskachek started out as a firefighter with the department in 1989, and has moved up through the ranks over the intervening fifteen years. Most recently, she was a battalion chief managing five fire stations. She has also served as captain, Human Resources Officer, and Deputy Chief of Training. She has been serving as the department's interim chief since mid-June, following the departure of Chief Rocco Forte.
She is a longtime member of WFS, and a founding member of the Minnesota Women Firefighters Association, which created and ran a highly successful training and mentoring program for female firefighter candidates. Bleskachek has a daughter, 10, and a son, 5.
NETWORKING THE WOMEN OF TODAY'S FIREFIGHTING WORLD, AND PROVIDING RESOURCES TO HELP BUILD THE FIRE SERVICE OF THE FUTURE