Kathy Vara / NBC News Los Angeles
Of the 18 arson investigators in the City of Los Angeles, Tufts is the only woman. Her journey to gaining this position and the respect of her colleagues has been anything but easy. "When I was in the academy, I would wake up, throw up and go to work. That was hard," said Tufts. But Inspector Tufts did not stop there. She took it upon herself to help mentor and instruct hundreds of first responders, students, and career firefighters for more than two decades. Additionally she helped develop programs to improve public safety organizations such as FEMA, NFPA, IAFF and DHS.