With 4 new female firefighters, NYC force reaches high of 49

NEW YORK (AP) — Four women hired in the Fire Department of New York's latest class of 295 bring the total number of female firefighters to 49, an all-time high.

Their representation in the nearly 11,000-member department has been slowly climbing since a 1982 legal ruling forced the department to hire women.

Commissioner Daniel Nigro told all graduates on Friday they represented the diverse city.

The paper says 52 African-Americans were also hired as probationary firefighters, representing 18 percent of the graduating class.

Last year, officials reached a $98 million settlement with a group of black firefighters who charged the FDNY entrance exam discriminated against minorities.

City officials have vowed to diversify the ranks of the nation's largest fire department.