Vernon Fire Department commemorates ‘End of Watch’ after 94-years as city pivots to L.A. County Fire and paramedic services
Vernon, CA – In a solemn hourlong, socially-distanced procession, Vernon firefighters –
one-by-one – were bestowed commemorative Vernon Fire Department "End of Watch"
badges to mark the official conclusion of their steadfast duty to protect the lives and
property within the City of Vernon since 1926.
Vernon Mayor Leticia Lopez said, "For 94-years, we have been indebted to the members
of the Vernon Fire Department for their professionalism and dedication to duty. In a city
of our size, it's not unusual for many of us to know our firefighters personally and to regard
them almost like members of our own families. The proud history of the Vernon Fire
Department will long be remembered, as will the many firefighters who, through the years,
devoted themselves to serving our city and risked their lives to protect all of us and our
The City of Vernon has approved an agreement with the Los Angeles County Fire
Department to provide fire service protection and paramedic emergency response for its
more than 1,800 businesses, 55,000 workers and local residents. This new era of fire and
emergency response by L.A. County Fire officially begins on October 21, 2020.
The Vernon Fire Department (VFD) has a storied 94-year history. It began modestly with
one fire station, a fire chief, 10-firefighters, one American LaFrance hose truck and two
other vehicles converted for use in responding to fire emergencies. Since 1926, the
Vernon Fire Department, with its complement of four stations, grew steadily and
continued to maintain its highly-coveted Class 1 rating by the Insurance Services Office,
the highest ranking any fire service can attain nationwide.
Through the years, VFD added service to the broader Southeast L.A. County community
to its fire service portfolio with the establishment of specialized units such as the
department's noted Urban Search and Rescue and Hazmat teams. VFD established a
regional fire service training center built in partnership with the L.A. Area Fire Chiefs'
Association. During their decades-long tenure, Vernon firefighters raised thousands of
dollars in support of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Susan G. Komen Foundation,
Muscular Dystrophy Association, St. Baldrick's Foundation and other worthy nonprofit
Interim Vernon Fire Chief Jim Enriquez said, "This is a day of immense pride for the men
and women of the Vernon Fire Department. It is also a bittersweet occasion. Their End of
Watch is fitting recognition for their commitment and dedication as Vernon firefighters as
they complete their final tour under the VFD shield. But in the coming weeks, VFD
personnel will transition to the 'proud protectors' traditions as they embrace a new legacy
of duty and commitment to public service as they join the men and women of the L.A.
County Fire Department who've upheld the same mission since 1923, and will do so going
forward in the months and years to come in serving the residents of Vernon and its