WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — They threw her new cellphone on the roof of the station house and placed nails under the wheels of her pickup. As she prepared to answer a call, someone poured tobacco juice in her boots. It was too much for Timika Ingram to bear.

“It caused me pain, sleepless nights, suffering, anxiety,” said Ingram, whose four years as a firefighter in North Carolina amounted to a collection of indignities.

Other Black firefighters who endured similar treatment in the Winston-Salem Fire Department recently brought their complaints before the city. The grievance they filed in October calls for Chief William “Trey” Mayo to be fired for failing to discipline white firefighters who, the group said, have created a hostile work environment through comments in person and on social media.

“It’s a festering problem that has become even more disease-ridden and even more detrimental to the life of the individuals who work here because of the current chief,” said 28-year veteran firefighter Thomas Penn, a leader of the group that calls itself Omnibus.

Across the country, firefighters are confronting incidents of racism and discrimination as part of a burgeoning movement to call out and address racial injustice in America.

Two Black women sued the city of Denver in September, saying its fire department discriminated against them because of their gender and race. One alleged a captain overseeing her training said she should “keep her head down and act like a slave” to graduate from the program.

In July, a white Delaware firefighter was charged with hate crimes and harassment, accused of sending threatening messages to a Black paramedic and two part-time workers, one who is Black and the other white who has Black family members, the News Journal reported.

The Winston-Salem group alleged two white captains talked about running over demonstrators protesting the police killing of George Floyd, and that a firefighter made a noose during a rope and knots class in November 2017.

City Manager Lee Garrity cited the state’s personnel privacy law in declining to comment. He said the city has launched a “climate assessment” through a Charlotte-based firm, which will evaluate the fire department regarding diversity, race, gender and sexual orientation. A report is due by year’s end, he said.

“We’d had very few grievances or complaints in the last couple of years,” Garrity said. “But I am sure there are opportunities for improvement.”

Mayo didn’t return multiple phone calls seeking comment.

In early November, Penn said the assessment hadn’t begun and added in an email that department administrators, including Mayo, had “attempted to intimidate and bully our members” by walking in during interviews.

Ingram said of her treatment throughout rookie school, “You develop alligator skin so that you can get on through the process. And then, hopefully, once you get in, you’ll be able to be an advocate or be able to be heard if anything goes on, because a lot went on with me.”

She joined the department in July 2006. Almost right away, she said, other firefighters stole her food and took her uniforms out of her personal space.

The cellphone incident was a significant factor in Ingram’s eventual departure because, without it, her three children had no way to reach her. She said her white counterparts asked if she’d actually left her phone where it was last seen and even pretended to search for it.

“That right there just set it off,” Ingram said.

Ingram was transferred and expressed concerns over her treatment to a superior who didn’t address them, she said.

“I was like, ‘I’m fighting a losing battle.’

Timika Ingram poses for a picture holding a flyer when she was a firefighter on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. A group of Black firefighters in a North Carolina city have filed a grievance over conditions they have endured for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Timika Ingram poses for a picture holding a flyer when she was a firefighter on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. A group of Black firefighters in a North Carolina city have filed a grievance over conditions they have endured for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Timika Ingram poses for a picture on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. A group of Black firefighters in a North Carolina city have filed a grievance over conditions they have endured for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Timika Ingram poses for a picture on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. A group of Black firefighters in a North Carolina city have filed a grievance over conditions they have endured for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Timika Ingram holds a jacket she had when she was a firefighter on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. A group of Black firefighters in a North Carolina city have filed a grievance over conditions they have endured for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Timika Ingram holds a jacket she had when she was a firefighter on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. A group of Black firefighters in a North Carolina city have filed a grievance over conditions they have endured for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Timika Ingram poses for a picture holding a flyer when she was a firefighter on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. A group of Black firefighters in a North Carolina city have filed a grievance over conditions they have endured for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Timika Ingram poses for a picture holding a flyer when she was a firefighter on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. A group of Black firefighters in a North Carolina city have filed a grievance over conditions they have endured for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)