LA city fire chief to retire after painful budget cuts

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Interim Fire Chief Millage Peaks
LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Interim Fire Chief Millage Peaks
Brian Watt/KPCC

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Los Angeles City Fire Chief Millage Peaks Monday announced he is retiring. His departure, announced by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, follows deep cuts to the fire department amid a citywide budget crisis.

Peaks served on the department for more than three decades, rising to chief in 2009.

Mayor Villaraigosa issued the following statement on Peaks' retirement:

For over 35 years, Millage Peaks has served in the Los Angeles Fire Department with an unwavering commitment to his fellow firefighters and the residents of this City.

In 2009, I was confident Chief Peaks was the right leader to manage the LAFD in the midst of the most difficult financial time the department had ever faced. At that moment of great challenge, he managed carefully and led with decisive action to creatively solve the department’s complex fiscal situation.

Chief Peaks’ leadership and innovative approach to fire-fighting brought the Los Angeles Fire Department into the 21st century. As the author of the City's first new fire deployment plan in over 40 years, he created a plan that will allocate resources more efficiently and effectively to ensure that our City is safe and our residents are protected. He also helped develop an automated system for ambulance billing and an e-learning program to train firefighters on the latest policies and procedures. And during his tenure as Chief, the City has experienced 47 percent fewer fire fatalities.

Every single day, Chief Peaks wore the badge with the courage of his convictions to stand up for what he knew to be in the best interest of the Department. On behalf of the City of Los Angeles, I extend my sincerest gratitude to Chief Millage Peaks for his decades of selfless service to the City and wish him all the best in his retirement.