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St. Paul Gets Its First Hmong Firefighter

Tougest Firefighter (Jim Maurice)

ST. PAUL, (AP) – St. Paul, which has one of the largest concentrations of Hmong people living in the United States, is finally getting its first Hmong firefighter.

Tou Lo graduates Friday from the St. Paul fire academy. He says his career path was inspired by a documentary about New York City firefighters responding to the Sept. 11 terror attacks, which he saw as a teenager.

St. Paul’s Police Department has had Hmong officers since the 1980s. St. Paul Fire Chief Tim Butler says he made it a goal when he took the job in 2007 to pin the badge on a Hmong firefighter during his tenure.

Lo, who is 25, has lived in St. Paul since he was 11.

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