WASHINGTON, D.C.--When Kishia Clemencia and Queen Anunay joined the Washington, D.C., fire department, there were more than 1,500 firefighters, but just 35 of them were women.

Now over two decades later, the two women have climbed the ranks and are helping to change the look of the city's finest public servants.

Every year, firefighters in the nation's capital protect some 700,000 residents and more than 20 million visitors from around the world.

"When we show up, it's your worst day. And it's our responsibility to help you out on your worst day," Anunay said.

Battalion chiefs Queen Anunay and Kishia Clemencia say the job is tough on anyone.

"You have to have the spirit of giving," Anunay said. "You can't have never run, never competed in sports. ... This is what you would call a professional athlete."

"You've got to be physically strong and mentally strong," said CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford.

"Absolutely," Clemencia replied, adding, "You're going to see things that's going to be devastating to you, that's going to last in your memory forever. It's how you deal with that."

"Everyone doesn't fly airplanes. Not everybody is going to run into a burning building," Anunay said.

For women firefighters, there are some extra challenges.

"A man can walk in a firehouse for the first time. And they will look at them and assume that they can do their job until they prove otherwise. When us females walk into a firehouse, they assume that we can't until we prove otherwise," Clemencia said.

The chiefs learned that lesson soon after joining the department in the early '90s.

Full story here on CBS News website.