• Pasadena Fire Department

Pasadena Fire Department

  • The Chiefs

     /assets/0/73/84/149/150/151/d4137b0e-3ad4-4e6d-8246-4a9582de01f3.jpg Chief Heutig retired and A.S. Turbett became the City's second official Fire Chief. George Greeley was his assistant. Then, in 1901, A.M. Clifford (Photo on the left) succeeded Chief Turbett, with F.V. Hovey his assistant. In 1909, Pasadena bought a Seagrave chemical engine*, the first motorized piece of fire apparatus on the Pacific Coast, and only third or fourth in the United States. The Pasadena Fire Department still owns this engine, which was restored by members of the Department and it still runs.
     /assets/0/73/84/149/150/151/34828f84-67d5-4c6b-ae7e-39609a91783b.jpg In 1919, E.F. Coop became the Fire Chief, and instituted the two platoon system. Also in that year, Pasadena became the first City to do an aerial survey for the purposes of fire protection. One of the Department's drivers, W.A. Fuller, helped to organize a new organization in 1923 called the California State Fireman's Association, and was awarded the CSFA lifetime badge number 1 for his effort.
     /assets/0/73/84/149/150/151/1daf02c2-5d8f-4cb1-808d-df73db634f8d.jpg /assets/0/73/84/149/150/151/1aada373-a98c-4d6f-8d34-4cdc6855de7c.jpg/assets/0/73/84/149/150/151/f400a28c-bd08-4f90-ad40-1d64d2ae97e4.jpgJimmy Bolz became Chief in June of 1943, becoming only the fifth official Fire Chief in 60 years. He was succeeded by, Stephen H. (Step) Edmonson in 1949, and he in turn by William T. Heidner in 1957.
     /assets/0/73/84/149/150/151/5d5acf88-e71f-430a-b122-2e79c09ccee4.jpg In 1972, James Shern was appointed Chief. He had recently retired from L.A. City Fire as a Division Chief, and became the first black Fire Chief in a major California city. Chief Shern received many honors during his years of service in Pasadena, including being elected president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Chief Shern passed away in 1982, and had fire station 36, at 1145 N. Fair Oaks, dedicated in his honor in 1990.
     /assets/0/73/84/149/150/151/f6279410-5387-49c0-be4b-1b3fab6eadaf.jpg Monty Ward was promoted to Fire Chief in 1981 on a temporary basis. He held the position until Kaya Pekerol became Chief on June 15, 1981. Chief Pekerol had served with the Department since December, 1968, and was promoted from his position as Administrative Chief.
     /assets/0/73/84/149/150/151/246e81ed-2692-4d4e-bdea-069cc7ca055b.jpg In June 1995, Peter O. Pederson was appointed fire chief. Chief Pederson started his career with the Los Angeles County Fire Department in September 1957. He promoted through the ranks and held the position of Assistant Chief. With a distinguished career spanning 24 years, Chief Pederson pursued his goal and was appointed the fire chief of the Salt Lake City Fire Department in 1981 and led that department for eight years. After a 51/2 year hiatus Chief Pederson came out of retirement to be the fire chief of PFD until April of 1998.
     /assets/0/73/84/149/150/151/cc683f7b-2ea5-4a43-a67b-ec567b1a6717.jpg In October of 1998 Chief Ernest Mitchell was hired after a lengthy recruitment process. Chief Mitchell had worked as fire chief for the City of Monrovia, and as a Battalion Chief for the City of Compton California. Chief Mitchell had a vast knowledge of the fire service, he currently holds the prestigious position as the president of the International Fire Chiefs Association. Chief Mitchell retired from the Pasadena Fire Department March 2004.
     /assets/0/73/84/149/150/151/2c7b3165-4259-4ca0-8e1e-0cb1a7a300bf.jpg Dennis J. Downs became Pasadena’s fire chief on April 5, 2004. Prior to that, Chief Downs served as the fire chief in Ventura since 1994 and was with the Fresno Fire Department for 15 years, working his way up from firefighter to interim fire chief.

    *The 1909 Seagrave Chemical Engine is currently on display at:
    Fire Station 31, 135 S. Fair Oaks
    Pasadena, Ca. 91101

    Back:  The First Permanent Station 

    For more Pasadena Fire Department Memorabilia, please visit the Pasadena Firemen's Relief Association.

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    • 1909 Seagrave Chemical Engine(2)1909 Seagrave Chemical Engine
    1909 Seagrave Chemical Engine(2)
Water Usage Gauge