Chic Spotlight: Retired Fire Lieutenant Gayle Unzicker PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Palacios   
Thursday, 24 June 2010 08:06

Chic Spotlight: Retired Fire Lieutenant Gayle Unzicker
She extinguished fires and treated victims. And in May, this local female firefighter made history in Cincinnati. Read on to discover more about the woman behind the blaze.

Cincy Chic
: At the end of May, you became the first female firefighter to retire from the Cincinnati Fire Department (CFD) with full length of service, so how does it feel?


Retired Fire Lieutenant-Paramedic Gayle Unzicker: It feels great! I don't see any negatives to retirement.


Cincy Chic: Your retirement comes after your serving 25 years in Cincinnati, but what first led you to your career?


Unzicker: I was a single mom and I needed a job. My mom encouraged me to go Downtown and apply. My stepfather was a firefighter, and the city of Cincinnati was making specific strides to attract women to the department.


Cincy Chic: This is for our Adventure/Risk Taking issue, so what were some of your more risky experiences as a firefighter and paramedic?


Unzicker: That's an interesting question — I suppose you mean riskier than the run-of-the-mill activities of going into burning buildings, treating victims of auto accidents on busy expressways or the EMS runs for patients who have been assaulted by gun shot, knife or other violent attacks. 061410VALLEYVIEW.GIF[Smiles.]


Several years ago, I responded to a fire in a furniture store on Glenway Avenue. The building was fully involved. By the time my company got there, the large picture windows across the entire front of the building had shattered from the heat. I took a fire line into the building with some of the other firefighters, and we were only in there a short time. The fire was too hot and was too big. We weren't making any progress. We backed out of the building, and when I took my helmet off, it was melted. The top of it looked like a cereal bowl where it had melted into a concave shape. That was exciting. 


Cincy Chic: Now that you are retired from the CFD, what are you doing to have fun and relax?


Unzicker: I'm looking forward to having more time to teach group fitness classes and doing some personal training. Those activities don't feel like work to me. It's a lot of fun. 0110Fence_INSTORY.gif


Cincy Chic: What do you love most about Cincinnati?


 Unzicker: I love the rich cultural offerings in Cincinnati: the art museum, the history museum, and theaters. I also like the activities that the river brings to our area; the deep German heritage; and our traditions of Taste of Cincinnati, Oktoberfest and of course, Chilifest.


I love many things about Cincinnati. The only thing I don't care for in our town is some of the winter weather! However, my perspective might change a little now that I don't have to work outside in it! [Smiles.]


Photographer: Alyson Gawrych, Allure Photography

Model: Gayle Unzicker

Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

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