Department History, Los Angeles county Fire Department, presented by Los Angeles county Fire Museum


The majority of this compendium was researched and put together by our Historian, LACoFD Captain David Boucher (Retired)

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Forestry Department created by Board of Supervisors


Fire Warden B.N. Powers was appointed and he served ineffectively until 1920.


Two huge fires burned 115,000 acres. San Gabriel and Ravenna.


Chief Forester Stuart J. Flintham named the head of the Forester, Fire Warden, and Fish & Game.

Organized and permanent fire protection to serve the unincorporated territories of Los Angeles County came about with the appointment of County Forester Stuart J. Flintham as the County Fire Warden on July 1, 1920. Chief Flintham had served as County Forester since 1912. Not only did he now acquire an additional title but a new and challenging assignment.

Many communities had organized volunteer fire departments or were considering such action. Among these were Angeles Mesa, Baldwin Park, Bellflower, Belvedere, Belvedere Gardens, Downey, Laguna, Lancaster, Lawndale, Lomita, Miramonte-Florence -Graham, Palmdale, San Dimas and Santa Monica Canyon.

Following his appointment, Chief Flintham appointed Spence D. Turner as his chief assistant and it was Chief Turner who eventually was charged with the actual formation of the first fire protection districts.

Assistant Fire Warden H. C. Merrill was appointed in November of 1920. On December 2, 1920, the then Board of Supervisors approved deputizing Chief Flintham as a Deputy City Fire Marshall as well.


First complete survey of the Santa Monica Mountains was completed.

First fuel breaks cut along the spine of the Santa Monica Mountains. Twelve “Fire Trailers” were distributed throughout the county. The fuel breaks were cut by hand.

O. M. Thurston, in January of 1921, was the second to be appointed Assistant Fire Warden.

On March 5, 1921, acting upon the petition of a group of local residents, the Board of Supervisors created the first fire protection district, that of Belvedere in East Los Angeles. On March 30 of that year, they then created the second district, Miramonte-Florence-Graham. (Editor’s Note: Belvedere later became known as Eng. 1 and Miramonte-Florence-Graham became Engines 9 and 16.)


First new vehicles purchased; 2 Fords and 1 Dodge.

First temporary Patrol Station set up in Bulldog Canyon in Malibu Hills. Summer only, used a tent.

The appointments of Assistant Fire Warden went to Joseph J. Davis and of Norman C. Johnson.


First Fire Lookout Tower constructed on Oat Mountain, south side of the Soledad Division.

First regular flight of leased fixed-wing aircraft used to patrol for fires. It was in use for 24 months and was based at Grand Central Airport in Glendale.

State Law 2583 was passed allowing property taxes to be collected for purposes of forming Fire Protection Districts in unincorporated areas. Twenty Nine Districts formed between December 1923 and February 1925 within Los Angeles County.

First Fire and Fish & Game Horse Patrols began; Decker Ranch, Malibu.

 Four new vehicles for Forester and Fire Warden; two Fords, a white cargo truck and a Dodge Screen Truck.

First two-way radios for fire control purposes were purchased. Kennedy set; field unit placed on the Dodge Screen Truck (50 watts). Chief Deputy Joe Davis became the first licensed radio operator of the fire control radio station.

First Forester and Fire Warden Field Division was created; “Soledad Division”, leased office in the U.S. Forest Service Building on the Hart Ranch in Newhall.

First field caches of fire fighting tools distributed in brush covered areas; Roland Percey was in charge.

After a great deal of uncertainty and the ambiguity of the Act of 1881 under which the first districts were created, a new law was passed in 1923 which was the signal for renewed activity in the formation of fire protection districts. The next districts to be formed were Artesia, Baldwin Park, Bell, Bellflower, Belvedere Gardens, Clearwater-Hynes, Downey, Greem Meadows, La Crescenta Valley, Laguna, Lancaster, Lankershim, Lawndale, Lennox, Lomita, Maywood, Moneta, Newhall, Norwalk, Palmdale, Puente, San Dimas, Santa Fe Springs, Santa Monica Canyon, Signal Hill and Sunalnd-Tujunga.



$500,000 borrowed from the County General Fund to purchase fire engines (pumpers) for the new district stations. Supplementary funds totalling $60,000 to purchase fire hose and various tools and equipment. Districts reimbursed the County as property taxes were collected.

First Joint Command agreement between the U.S. Forest Service and the Los Angeles County Forester and Fire Warden.

The San Gabriel Forest Fire in September burned for 27 days and burned 50,000 acres. Five Thousand firefighters fought the fire.

A few of the volunteer fire companies had fairly good equipment and this was taken over by the new districts. The American LaFrance Company was persuaded to extend credit and several new pieces of fire equipment were delivered as early as 1924. Eventually 28 new pumpers were purchased at a fleet cost of approximately $280,000.

With the creation of additional districts, it became necessary to acquire experienced men to serve as battalion chiefs. In January 1924, John F. Baker of Monrovia was engaged as an assistant fire warden with the title of battalion chief and, later that same year, Clarence Tillotson, a retired captain of the L.A. City Fire Department, became the second battalion chief. At this time, Assistant Fire Chief Johnson was receiving a salary of $200 per month and the new battalion chiefs received $180 per month.


Chief Spencer Turner

January 10, 1925: Chief Flintham dies after a short fut very serious illness. His assistant, Spencer Turner, was appointed head of all crews to become the County Forester, Fish & Game Warden and County Fire Chief on June 8th, 1925. Chief Turner served for twenty seven years. He was presented a solid gold badge with a blue-white diamond in the center to commensurate a position of such responsibility.

 Joseph J. Davis then became Chief Turner’s deputy chief. 

First District’s Battalion Chiefs were appointed; Tillitson, Baker, and Heinzman. Their pay was $2,160 a year. Chief Turner’s salary was raised to $5,000 a year.

Fire Prevention Bureau was established and placed under the Forester and Fire Warden’s Chief Dunlap. 

First Los Angeles County Fire Code was adopted.


Buick cars and light trucks became standard for the Forester and Fire Warden. The first set of Fire Districts fire apparatus deliveries occurred from 1924-1926. Fifteen American La France, seven Reo-Obenchain-Boyers, and six Stuttz pumpers were added to the fleet.

1926 – 1932 saw thirteen permanent Forestry Patrol Stations constructed. (see pages 41-43 of Ride the Devil Wind)

In 1926, Battalion Chief Baker resigned, reducing the three battalions to two. Chief Adolph Neinzeman became in charge of Battalion North and Chief Tillotson was in charge of Battalion South. 

Los Angeles Headquarters Dispatcher

Headquarters dispatching was dependent upon assignments to daytime, Saturday and holiday tricks until July 8, 1926, when Fireman Jack Gregory was transferred in as night central dispatcher. On January 11, 1927, F. H. Welts (retired from the Los Angeles Fire Department) was engaged and alternated with Gregory on the first twelve hour shift and later on a twenty-four hour shift basis. Gregory was appointed a Captain December 16, 1927, in the Lawndale District. He was replaced by H. J. Durand who was succeeded by A. A. Farrington May 14, 1928.


Large Forestry nurseries were established at Pacoima and Altadena.


Altadena nursery moved to Henninger Flats.

Eight Harley Davidson patrol motorcycles for Forestry were purchased. Horses began to be phased out. Pack mules remained until the advent of World War II.

Los Angeles County Mechanical Department took over repair of the District’s fire apparatus.

St. Francis Dam collapses, over 500 deaths. Many were not found.


1929-1931 Seven Moreland 600-gallon tankers were ordered for the Forester and Fire Warden. Three 200 gallon Moreland Squads also ordered.

First Fish & Game patrol boat commissioned. (Ethel)

First paid Call Firefighters hired, they were paid $25.00 a month plus $2.00 a call.

Introduction of the two-platoon scheduling system; 24 hours on then 24 hours off all year around.

First three deaths during brush fire operations: Clyde Radenmacher, Ray Metz, and Ray Taylor.

October: Major stock market crash. Significant fund shortages and reorganizations occured. Especially in the Forester and Fire Warden.


First use of a bulldozer on a brush fire, the Tapia Park fire.

Onset of the Great Depression.


Closing of two out of six Construction Camps. No new fire apparatus were purchased for six following years.

With the death of Chief Norman Johnson in 1931, Chief Heinzeman became assistant chief and Captain W. B. Klinger was appointed battalion chief. 


Under the Federal Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) programs, four Civilian Conservation Corps Camps were constructed and opened. One in each Forestry Field Division. An unknown number of State Welfare Camps also opened. Extensive publics works programs begun throughout wildland areas. Roads (motorways), parks, trails, and public buildings were constructed.

First “No Smoking” signs were placed at qualified public access points leading to wildland areas.

In August 1932, Captain Glenn Griswold was appointed battalion chief replacing Chief Tillotson (resigned).


First “Board of Review” of major wildland fires was held. Later renamed the “Fire Control Conference.” (Critique)

New Fish & Game patrol boat was purchased, named Cobra, launched to replace the inadequate craft the Ethel.

Maximum involvement of Forester and Fire Warden personnel during the Long Beach Earthquake, which shook the souls of the South Land on March 10th, 1933. Station 9 was used as Headquarters for the event.


Massive mud slides in Battalion 4 following a rainstorm that dumped 10″ overnight. Forty were known dead, there were others who remained missing.


Latigo, Lake Sherwood, and the Brown Fires all erupted about the same time. They burned 10,000 acres.

Owen catchment basin was constructed in Topanga Canyon to contain 200,000 gallons of rainwater for hydrant supply.


Six Seagrave 750 gallon per minute pumpers were ordered for the Districts. The first orders placed since the Great Depression onset.


The Trippet Fire in the Malibu Mountains consumed 14,000 acres.

A forty-eight hour Captain’s position was added to the Forester and Fire Warden Patrol Stations. Manpower was raised to two men. Porches were enclosed for offices.

Fire Seagrave 600 gallon tankers were delivered to the Forester and Fire Warden.


A 2,500 gallon tanker/pumper was delivered from Seagrave to the Districts. Custom designed by W.E. Powellson, head of Mechanical Shops. The rig was assigned to Station 20.


Beginning of World War II; subsequent shortages of men and equipment.


Trained and equipped 1,400 Civilian Defense Firemen, three hundred and fifty of them were women. The women were assigned to industrial occupancies critical to the war effort.

AM radios installed in key Forester and Fire Warden command cars.

All civilian car and truck manufacturing ceased.

First “Fog” nozzles, invented by Battalion Chief Glenn Griswold, were adopted by the U.S. Navy for shipboard firefighting. Chief Griswold was killed in the war from a chemical explosion in Italy as he served as Fire Chief of Naples with the U.S. Army.


The Woodland Hills Fire burned through 15,000 acres. It as the first brush fire that was coordinated entirely by Forester and Fire Warden radio.


Two Ford and three Mack pumpers/tankers were made available to the Los Angeles County Fire. This was a wartime allocation.

First females hired as dispatchers. AM radio transmitters were installed at Arroyo Seco Headquarters, Malibu Headquarters, and Soledad Headquarters. One hundred and eleven radios were put in Chief’s cars and in the rigs.

First FM transmitter was installed for the Districts in the Los Angeles Basin. It was 250 Watts and was located at Headquarters.


Proposal work was begun to combine District with Forester and Fire Warden.

Three Ford and two Mack tankers were ordered and painted RED.

The Common Drill Manual was developed.


Districts with Forester and Fire Warden, Organizational combining was started July 1, 1948. It took five years.

Temporary creation of “Mountain Battalions” took place in areas where Forester and Fire Warden could respond with District engines.

First attempt at numbering Forester and Fire Warden apparatus. They were temporary, as the numbers changed on July 1, 1953. Rigs began to be painted red.

The Presidential Award was presented to Tractor Operator James Simons for his work under very hazardous conditions building the Topanga Canyon Fire Firebreak. He also received the James L. Bissel Award.

The Ladies Auxiliary was formed in Battalion 4. Soon it spread all over the county.

1948 -1949 Ten new 1,000 gallons per minute Seagrave pumpers were ordered for Districts.


1949-1950 Nine new 1,000 gallons per minute pumpers for Districts were ordered from General-Pacific. One had Forester and Fire Warden specs. (70’s)

Consolidated Fire Protection District which was formed by combining ten separate Districts. Others followed for several years.


First eighty-five foot aerial ladder truck for Los Angeles County Fire. American La France mid-mount, placed at Station 8.

Chief Cecil R. Gehr

Fire Chief Cecil R. Gehr

1951-1952 Eighteen new International Harvester 1,000 gallon per minute pumpers for the Districts.

Chief Turner retires after twenty seven years.

Division Chief Cecil A. Gehr takes the reins.


New Headquarters building constructed at 1320 N. Eastern Avenue in East Los Angles. Named the Klinger Center upon Fire Chief Klinger’s Retirement in 1969. The building cost $320,000 to build.

Chief Cecil Gehr

Chief Cecil Gehr

Cecil R. Gehr becomes the third Los Angeles County Fire Chief.


Chief Keith Klinger

The 40,000 acre “Sulphur Springs” brush/forest fire fought with U.S. Forest Service in the Angeles National Forest as joint command.

Fire Chief Cecil R. Gehr was killed in a traffic accident while responding to a brush fire in Little Tujunga Canyon.

Chief Deputy Keith Klinger named Chief Engineer of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Monrovia Peak Fire burned 10,000 acres and was fought jointly with the U.S. Fire Service.

First full time Department Chaplain appointed: Captain Ed Spruill.

Forester and Fire Warden Union local 1425 and Districts local 1014 merged as 1014. New badges issued, Forester and Fire Warden stations were given numbers instead of names, the green Forestry rigs were painted red, common uniforms and work schedules were adopted. The Mountain Battalions disbanded, compensation was unified.

Problems with AM and FM radios were solved within 18 months. See 1955.


First serious coordinated efforts at experimentation with fixed wing water drops. Muroc, California.

Operation “Firestop” held at Camp Pendleton. There were joint agency exercises over a two week period.

Forty new Crown Pumpers were delivered over a two year period.

The so-called “Lakewood Plan” did not come into being until 1954 when the county area was incorporated as a city and the plan to contract for certain municipal services evolved. At the time of its inception, the Lakewood Plan was unique in that it enabled an incorporated city to contract for fire and police protection with an existing governmental agency. In this case, the County of Los Angeles, at a considerable savings to the taxpayers of the city.


First recruit class graduation from the new Cecil R. Gehr Training Center.

Third Field Division created; Malibu and the desert areas north of Newhall Pass – Division III – Assistant Chief Harvey Anderson was put in charge.

Last of the sixteen County lookout towers closed due to lack of visibility, smog, and proliferation of telephones in the back country.

Two new 600 watt FM radio transmitters for Los Angeles and Valley Dispatch. First selective calling units for Los Angeles Dispatch. 

AM transmitters were disbanded.


Two California State helicopters were used on the Mt. Lukens Fire for hauling equipment up the hills. One fixed wing biplane dropped a small amount of water. The owner/pilot of the biplane is unknown.

Newton-Hume-Sherwood Complex of Fires in Malibu. 35,000 acres burned, 156 Engines were used to fight the fire and there was one civilian death.

Two Bell 47 G2 Helicopters were approved for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. One was detailed to the Fire Department along with a pilot and a mechanic for water drop experimentation.


First water drops by Los Angeles County Fire Helicopter. The drop was thirty five gallons of water. The pilot was Roland Barton. Work was begun to enlarge the water tank.


Signal Hill, Long Beach, Los Angeles County Fire Departments fight the Hancock Oil Company Refinery Fire. It was a HUGE fire, and a huge loss. This burned for four days, there were two civilian deaths from the original explosion.

Two, nearly simultaneous, brush fires errupted. The Calabasas and the Liberty Fires together burned 21,000 acres. Engines 13 and 58 were over run by fire in Corral Canyon. The engines burned as the crews had light burn injuries. Thirty six homes burned.



Woodwardia Fire in Battalion 4’s area of La Canada. 14,500 acres burned and Camp 2 had two crew deaths. The fire was struck with air drops. Fire Headquarters were set up at Angeles Crest Highway and Vista Del Valle.

The fire started when a temporary U.S. Forest Service employee, William D. Grater of Tujunga, torched tinder dry brush in the Angeles National Forest just so he could be called to work to fight the ensuing blaze.


Pre Planned levels of fire fighting operations instituted; Plans I and II. Plan III added later.


First 100 gallon aluminum drop tank was affixed to a helicopter, a JEB aircraft in Burbank. Roland Barton was the first pilot.


Petroleum fire fighting school at Del Valle was dedicated and regular use of the facility was begun.


First jet powered fire boat was commissioned, Station 110 in Marina del Rey.

Began the gradual placement of E&J Lyteport resuscitators on all one hundred twenty seven Engine Companies.

Construction began on Chief Klinger’s program to have a fire station every ten minutes around all the San Gabriel Mountain front country.


1964 – 1965 The process to load fixed-wing aircraft with Phoscheck at Lockheed Airport in Burbank was moved from the Van Nuys Airport.

New pumping equipment was designed and built by Captain Frank Hamp and a select crew of Firefighters.

Simultaneous wind driven brush fires, the Chevy Chase Fire and the Whiting Woods Fire were mostly in Glendale. 9,000 to 12,000 acres and thirty four homes were destroyed. Homes in Whiting Woods, Verdugo Woodlands, Chevy Chase Canyon, and Glenoaks Canyons and Eagle Rock had homes destroyed as well.


Watts Riots stampeded all over Los Anglees in August over a four day period. $50,000,000 in property loss, thirty two civilian deaths, one Los Angeles City Firefighter and one Los Angeles County Sheriff was killed. Forty percent of the riot was in County territory and sixty percent was in the City.


Third Dispatch Center was opened at Fire Station 129 in Lancaster. Former office at Fire Station 73 closed. I.D. was “Angelope”.


LACoFD has thirty Contract Cities.

On November 1st, 1967 twelve crewmen from the El Cariso Hotshots, U.S. Forest Service, were over run on the Loop Fire which was north of Pacoima in the Angeles National Forest. All twelve in the crew died. Our helicopter pilot, Roland Barton, was awarded the Pilot’s Association’s Award for skillful flying during rescue attempts.


Libre Fire, running south from below Gorman to Castaic. Engine 382 was over run but not destroyed. Captain Phil Goodell died in the hospital from burns.

The Canyon Inn Fire in San Gabriel, Fish and Roberts Canyons. 18,000 acres burned, blackened 21 square miles. Foreman George Thomas and seven teen-age crewmen were overrun by fire and died. The crew was from the Los Angeles County juvenile probation program. More than 1500 men fought the fires backed by eight helicopters, four air tankers, nineteen bulldozers and one hundred trucks. One of the five surviving boys described his experience; “We were cutting a line around it when suddenly the fire came over the hill behind us. I heard the foreman (Thomas) yell ‘run, run, run’ but those fires go like that – He snapped his fingers. “I ran in a different direction.”


The Desert Sun, Volume 42, Number 19, 26 August 1968

USDA Fire Weather & Fire Behavior at the Canyon Fire PDF


Chief Richard H. Houts

Chief Engineer Keith M. Klinger retired on June 30th after sixteen years as Chief. He was named Fire Chief Emeritus by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Division Chief Richard H. Houts was named new Chief Engineer by the Board of Supervisors on July 10th.

First high rise fire for Los Angeles County. The Playboy Club in 7’s area on Sunset Blvd was broadcast all over the city as this iconic club burned. Los Angeles City Fire Department helped out.

Supervisors Warren Dorn and Kenneth Hahn propose emergency medical care for the Forester and Fire Warden areas outside of Districts.

Supervisor Kenneth Hahn proposes an Explorer Program centered around the Fire Service.

In December, Los Angeles County and City Fire Departments graduate their first licensed Paramedics. They would be based out of Harbor General Hospital, from which the County’s Heart Unit 59 responded. Later it was out of Station 36.


Santa Ana wind driven Wright-Clampitt-Agua Dulce Fire burned 135,000 acres, the largest area in Los Angeles County ever, up to this date. There were eight additional fires at the same time and the  fire protection systems were strained to the maximum. There were 10 deaths and 103 homes destroyed in Malibu.

The 1970 fire season showed the need for even more County and region-wide coordination of fire resource distribution during near catastrophic emergency conditions. See 1976.

Preparations for the television series EMERGENCY! began with cooperation between Los Angleles County Fire and Universal Studios. Battalion Chief James O. Page was equipment coordinator and realism supervisor for the show. Jack Webb was the Producer. The program ran seven seasons and changed the public’s perception of the Fire Service forever.

Newspaper clippings from:——-en–20–1–txt-txIN——–1 



The 12 second long 6.5 magnitude Sylmar Earthquake, centered in Pacoima Canyon at Bear Divide hit at 6:00:55 AM on February 9th.Olive View Hospital and a Veterans Hospital were destroyed. Stations 46, 47, and 80 were damaged beyond repair. Sixty four people lay dead, 2500 were injured, freeway overpasses, power stations exploded, fires from broken gas lines and tens of thousands of houses, schools, and major infrastructure was damaged. There was more than $550 million in damages.

Olive View Hospital

Veterans Hospital

Last cooperative fire lookout closed: Charlie Point near the Castaic Reservoir.


A fast-moving fire which started during the taping of a television show destroyed a large sound stage and damaged two large office buildings at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios in West Hollywood on Monday, May 6, 1974. Damage: $2 million.

Read more about this incident HERE >>>


The Mill Fire was a brush and forest fire. 47,000 acres from just east of Angeles National Forest Highway west to Pacoima Canyon. Very strong winds over the Thanksgiving holiday. Last brush fire for Chief Houts as Department leader.

Pilot Thomas Grady was killed in the line of duty in a mid air helicopter collision. His co-pilot was gravely injured.


Chief Englund was Chief in charge of developing regional communications for large incidents. This became known as the Riverside Lab.

Chief Clyde A. Bragdon Jr

Chief Clyde A. Bragdon Jr

Last order placed for Crown Fire apparatus. production seriously reduced. Switch made to American LaFrance, KME/Kovatch, Seagrave, and Pierce.

Clyde Al Bragdon, Jr. became the Department’s sixth Fire Chief. He served until 1984.


Los Angeles County Fire Chief Clyde A. Bragdon, Jr. made a cameo appearance in the TV show EMERGENCY!

California State property tax initiative 13 passes. Revenue for Fire Protection Districts was cut by 70%.

Proposition 8 passes allowing state treasury surplus to be diverted for one year to the Districts while new revenue is found.

Kanan Fire in Malibu Hills burns 25,000 acres during extreme Santa Ana Wind conditions. Due to extreme spotting, the fire reaches the coast in just two and a half hours from the start of the fire. 230 homes lost. The Agoura-Malibu Fire was fueled by at least eight other significant wildfires (including the Kanan Fire) on October 23rd. The fire was started by an arsonist. Agoura, Malibu, and Mandeville Canyons were destroyed. 136 Engine companies, 28 Camp crews, 8 bulldozers, 6 helicopters & 6 fixed wing air tankers were used to fight the fire. A 15-year-old Agoura youth was arrested for starting the fire, he used a lit cigarette wrapped in a matchbook cover to start the fire.

Mandeville Canyon Fire image from 1978 Palisades Post

From a post card that sold for years after the fire:



1978-1979 Emergency Medical Technician training given to all Firefighting personnel in order to give better assistance to the Paramedics during rescues.

Pinecrest Fire burns 10,000 acres of brush and forest adjacent to Eaton Canyon in mostly virgin wildland area. Mt. Wilson Hotel and television transmitters were saved.


Critically important purchase of forty six Ward LaFrance 1500 gallon per minute pumpers, down rated to 1,000 gallons per minute. They were $44,000 each. These replaced one-third of the fleet, some rigs with twenty-five years of service. This was a significant budget battle for Chief Houts.



Simultaneous La Tuna Canyon Fire and the Stable Fire erupted in Battalion 10’s District. Together they burned 13,000 acres. Fifty estate sized homes in Bradbury were lost.


Dayton Fire in Bell Canyon burned to the Malibu coast. It took out 42,000 acres and 85 homes.

Hazardous Materials Squads 87 and 105 enter service.

1982 – 1985 Forty three American LaFrance, Van Pelt, and Seagrave pumpers are purchased, covering one third of County Fire Stations.


Chief John Englund

Chief Clyde Bragdon retires.

Division Chief John Englund named to replace Bragdon.


Unknown photographer: Path of Destruction

On August 31st, there was a mid-air collision between a private plane and an AeroMexico Jetliner. The DC -9 jetliner crashed into homes on this Labor Day Weekend in the Cerritos area. Fourteen homes destroyed and eighty two persons were killed,which included fifteen that were on the ground.


San Gabriel Valley Tribune photo

A 5.9 blind thrust Earthquake hit Whittier Narrows south of Fire Station 4 on October 1st at 7:42 AM. Extensive damage near Whittier and East Los Angeles. Two civilian deaths.

Another one hit two days later, a magnitude 5.2 strike-slip event. This caused more damage and one more death.


Fire Chief John Englund retires.


Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman

First five tillered 100′ Aerial Ladder Trucks were ordered by the Department.

On February 1, former Dallas Texas Operations Chief P. Michael Freeman was named Los Angeles County Fire Chief.


Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman

First five tillered 100′ Aerial Ladder Trucks were ordered by the Department.

On February 1, former Dallas Texas Operations Chief P. Michael Freeman was named Los Angeles County Fire Chief.


A fire that has been labeled as the largest fire in the history of Los Angeles occured in November. It was the backlot fire at Universal Studios, which burned a major portion of the studio property and resulted in millions of dollars in losses. Due to this fire, Universal decide it need a LACoFD Fire Station on the backlot. The dedication of LA County Fire Station 51 was in August 1995.


Command and Control building completed. It was occupied in 1992.


Rodney King and the Los Angeles Riots occupied most Fire Service organizations for five days. The riot started with a police and citizen altercation after the acquittal of four white police officers charged with assault and the excessive use of force on Rodney King on April 30th. over 2,000 were injured and 50 were dead. over 1,000 building were destroyed in the Los Angeles area with damages over $1 billion. Over 1100 Marines, 600 Army soldiers, and 6500 National Guard troops were patrolling the streets of L.A. for a few months after the riots.

CNN LIbrary


OLD TOPANGA FIRE: On November 2nd, the Old Topanga Fire erupted near the water tower on Old Topanga Canyon Road and by the end had the largest number of men and equipment ever assembled for a Southern California Wildfire; up to this date. 165 engine strike teams of 5-6 vehicles each, 25 single resource engines and Emergency Support Teams, 129 hand crews, 31 air tankers, 23 helicopters, 13 bulldozers, 50 water tenders, 8 food dispensers, over 7,000 fire fighters and support personnel, plus the support of 458 agencies from 12 states. Los Angeles County Fire Station 69 was the first responder with Captain Michael Johnson.

Santa Ana winds fueled the flames as all available County Engines assigned to brush battalions were fully staffed and began the fist of many days of extended duty. The fire was labeled as arson, there were three civilian deaths and one fire captain, two fire apparatus engineers, and two firefighters were injured. More than 350 homes were destroyed.

Read more about this fire at Los Angeles Times article Nov 7, 1993

KINNEOLA FIRE: November: Altadena, in Battalion 4s jurisdiction burned 325 homes, had 5,465 Firefighters, claimed three lives, injured 10 Firefighters and one civilian, and caused $170 million in damage. This fire was ruled accidental. There were 26 fires over two weeks during this period of time, 19 of which were declared as arson with over $1 Billion in damages.


Department Honor Awards commenced.


The Los Angeles County Lifeguards joined the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Universal Studios immortalized Fire Station 51, from the Television Show “EMERGENCY!”, with the dedication of a real life Station 51 on their backlot.


A series of fires for 2 to 3 years, mostly South of Los Angeles County. The Curve Fire was the most notable. 


During the devastating Station Fire, Fire Captain Tedmund D. Hall and Firefighter Specialist Arnie Quinones are killed when their emergency response vehicle went over the side and fell 800 feet into a steep canyon during fire suppression activities to protect Camp 16 in the City of Palmdale.


Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman Retires after 22 years as Los Angeles County Fire Chief.

Deputy Chief Daryl L. Osby becomes the ninth Forest & Fire Warden and Fire Chief.

Woolsey Fire


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