Inspired by real-life events in 1992 watching Los Angeles burn during the civil unrest caused by the Rodney King beating, Eleni Pappas knew right then that she wanted to become a firefighter. "The city just exploded," she told Start TV. "Everything was on fire."
Five years later, Pappas was working for the Los Angeles Fire Department. In 2001, she joined the Los Angeles County Fire Department. In August 2018, she made history by becoming the first female promoted to Assistant Fire Chief in her county.
Watch Eleni Pappas explain why her first day as a firefighter was so daunting: