It wasn’t long ago that a young lad by the name of Dave “Chavo” Chavez walked into a Battalion 13 station to start off what would end up becoming a long career with the LAFD. It’s hard to believe that Dave spent most of his time in the busiest battalions, mainly 1, 3, 11, and 13. Some time was spent in others battalions, but since he’s spent most of his time here, and is retiring out of 33’s, we thought it would be fitting to only share those.
In March of 1983, Dave accepted the position of Firefighter and went on to be part of a class assigned to Drill Tower 89 on the “A” Platoon.
Just like every recruit before and after him, many hours were spent learning everything there is to know in order to be a great Firefighter. In the tower, hours were spent studying, laying lines, throwing lumber, and jumping for his job to name a few. As fate would have it, Dave would be assigned to the busiest battalion right out of the gate, 13, the one that never sleeps! Battalion 13 can be overwhelming for a new recruit. At times it has shown to break even some of the newly promoted into the Battalion.
For Dave, looking back at his 38 years of service must seem like a burp (no problem) based on ALL his tours back throughout the years. To start a career in this battalion is one thing, but to retire out of it is another!
Dave came on when rookies were generally assigned to a battalion on the same platoon for ALL three houses during the first year of probation. Dave was luckier. He got to spend his time in 13 and 3, a battalion that no longer exist, but had some of the finest firehouses on the LAFD—14, 15, 21, 26, 34 and 46.
His first assignment, where he learned his truck skills, was 66’s on the west side. The next four months was spent at the assignment that would end up being the place he would retire from, “Fire City” 33’s. Having had two solid truck houses to gain some knowledge and experience, his last house on probation would be 21’s on the east side of Battalion 3.
Looking back on Dave’s career, he would find himself working in these busy battalions for over 26 years as a Firefighter. The smoked stained patina on his badge says it all.
Out of those 26 years, nine were spent at Fire Station 9. Another nine years were spent in Battalion 11, a short stent in Battalion 3, and last but not least, almost nine years in Battalion 13 at 33’s. Along the way, Dave made a few stops at some slower assignments to find that he longed for a little bit more excitement.
The picture in this article of Dave was captured at a recent structure fire showing something most don’t get to see. It’s the smile one has when they get to make a difference and fight fire in a two-story, center hall apartment over commercials. For Dave, riding hydrant on Engine 33 is the best seat in the house. At 33’s, most of the fellas love to rotate to the Truck to work on their Ventilation and Extrication Ops; not Dave. He’s an Engine-man through and through. The busier the engine, the happier he is. Remember, after all, sleep deprivation and exhaustion are only a state of mind.
I’m sure the “A” Platoon and the rest of the fellas at 33’s are going to miss him at the firehouse when he retires. It’s not every day that a 38-year Veteran Firefighter retires from such a busy assignment like Fire City. Our only hope is that his knowledge and experience will be remembered by all who had the opportunity to work with him.
On April 26, 2021, Dave retired and will now be known as a regular Old Joe to most, but, for us, Chavo will always be a member of the “A” Platoon and member of the Fire City Family.
Congrats on serving the citizens of Los Angeles for 38 years! What an amazing accomplishment.
On behalf of your friends, family, and co-workers, we would like to wish you nothing but the very best in retirement. May it be long, healthy, and happy!!
From, The fellas at “Fire City” past & present