NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The FDNY is on fire.

A record-breaking number of minorities have taken the firefighter exam, Commissioner Sal Cassano announced at a Harlem firehouse on Tuesday.

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WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reports

Of the 42,161 people who took the test, 19,260 of them were minorities — a 130 percent increase over the previous exam administered in 2007.

“The more minorities that you have sit for the exam, it only makes common sense that more minorities will get the job,” Cassano said.

A record number of women — nearly 2,000 — also took the test.

“To say that women can’t do it is a very ignorant statement,” firefighter Regina Wilson,who is one of 28 women in the more than 200 firehouses around the city, said. She has been with the department for 13 years.

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The efforts to diversify the department comes in response to a lawsuit charging discrimination in the department’s testing and hiring practices.

The department has been actively going to churches, shopping malls and using social media to recruit members.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports

However, John Coombs, president of the Vulcan Society, said recruitment is not an issue.

“Just to have a lot of people take an exam doesn’t translate to those individuals becoming firefighters,” Coombs said.

Only 3,000 to 3,500 positions are expected to be filled in the department over the next four years.

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