Sixth Time Not Charm; FDNY Rookie Quits, Returns to EMS

Although she graduated from the FDNY fire academy, she never passed the running test.


The female FDNY probie who was allowed to graduate from the Fire Academy without passing a required running test has quit.

Wendy Tapia, 31, resigned Thursday after trying again — her sixth attempt — to run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes or less, officials said.

“She didn’t make the 12-minute cutoff,” an FDNY spokesman said. “She’ll return back to EMS ranks.”

Tapia was one of five women among 285 new firefighters who graduated from the FDNY’s Randall’s Island training academy on May 17. The class of EMTs and paramedics was hailed as one of the most diverse ever.

She was assigned to Engine No. 316 in East Elmhurst, Queens, but never worked a shift. After recovering from a foot injury, she went on light duty and continued training for the run. She failed it five times, last on Halloween, clocking 12 minutes 23 seconds.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano, at the behest of United Women Firefighters, a group of active and retired FDNY women, gave Tapia another chance to pass the test on Dec. 2. But on the heels of a Post article on her special treatment, Tapia tried again early, and then threw in the towel.

“It’s really not about her, it’s about preferential treatment,” said Paul Mannix, president of Merit Matters, a firefighter group that opposes hiring quotas. “People are encouraged that she won’t be fighting fires, not because she’s a woman, but because she couldn’t meet the standards.”