Ciji Montemayor, a 2003 Stephenville High School graduate, recently began her new job as the Hood County fire marshal - becoming the first-ever female to hold that position.

Montemayor grew up in Tolar and after graduating from high school, decided to join Tolar Volunteer Fire Department.

“I was volunteering on the fire and EMS side and I enjoyed it and decided I was going to try to make a career out of it,” she said.

In fact, as Montemayor was volunteering with the Tolar Fire Department, she told Roger Deeds, the fire marshal at the time who is now the Hood County sheriff, that she planned to take over his job one day.

“I had seen him at numerous fires and I did tell him that one day I would be the fire marshal at Hood County,” she said. “He remembered that, too, when I got appointed.”

Montemayor attended Tarleton State University for a year and then went to Hill College in Cleburne to finish EMT school and the fire academy.

She has an abundance of experience working at different fire departments. She has worked in Benbrook, Watauga and Mineral Wells and even attended police academy at Tarrant County College where she was the class lieutenant for the academy.

She graduated in November 2015 from the police academy and was awarded the most distinguished cadet and class leader.

Montemayor said are several reasons why she wanted to become a fire marshal.

"You have to be a firefighter and a police officer at the same time. It looked interesting. Not only do you have the fire side but you also have the investigative side. There’s always things to look for and no situation is going to be the same, so it’s a very diverse area,” she said.

With her new position, Montemayor is responsible for fire investigations and will respond to structure fires, grass fires and other fires in Hood County. She is the emergency management coordinator for the county and oversees two deputy fire marshals in her office.

She started her new position Aug. 5.

“I like working with all of the volunteer fire departments and the citizens of Hood County who I've served for a long time and grew up here. I’m enjoying it and learning something new every day,” she said.

She said she is excited about taking on the everyday challenges that her job will entail.

"The most exciting part would probably be getting to work alongside the volunteer fire departments and the sheriff’s office which I've worked at as well as EMS so I'm most excited about staying close to home and working with all of the citizens and departments in Hood County to help make Hood County a better place moving forward,” she said.