LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas announces retirement; Fire Marshal Kristin Crowley nominated to be 1st female to lead department

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — For the first time in its history, the Los Angeles Fire Department may soon have its first female fire chief.

Kristin Crowley, who currently serves as LAFD’s deputy chief and fire marshal, was nominated Tuesday to lead the department after Mayor Eric Garcetti along with City Council President Nury Martinez exclusively told ABC7 that LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas is planning to retire.

If confirmed, Crowley would be the first female to ever lead LAFD.

“We’re living through an unprecedented moment that has called on our fire department not just to protect us – but to lead us in the fight to overcome public safety challenges we’ve never faced before,” said Garcetti in a statement released to Eyewitness News on Tuesday. “Throughout her distinguished career, Kristin Crowley has proven her brilliance, determination and bravery on the job again and again. She’s also shown this city her heart, with her tireless commitment to helping student’s access life-changing educational opportunities. There is no one better equipped to lead the LAFD at this moment than Kristin. She’s ready to make history, and I’m proud to nominate her as the Department’s next Chief.”

Crowley has been with LAFD for 22 years and has moved quite seamlessly through the ranks. She made history as the department’s first female fire marshal and is the second woman to earn the rank of chief deputy.

She also serves as program director for LAFD’s youth development program, which has played a key role in getting LAUSD high school students to continue in their education.

“I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to be the next Fire Chief of the Los Angeles City Fire Department and to lead the Department into the future,” Crowley said. “As the Fire Chief, if confirmed, I vow to take a strategic and balanced approach to ensure we meet the needs of the community we serve. We will focus our efforts on increasing our operational effectiveness, enhancing firefighter safety and well-being, and fully commit to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture within the LAFD. Thank you, Mayor Garcetti, Council President Martinez, and Chief Terrazas for entrusting me to lead and to work with the dedicated women and men of the finest department in the world.”

Martinez called the move a big win for young girls across L.A.

“Today is a big moment in this City. For the first time in its history the Los Angeles Fire Department will be led by a woman,” she said. “Chief Kristin Crowley is known by her colleagues and by this city as someone who is dedicated, hardworking, and goes above and beyond what is expected of her. This announcement is not just important for the City of Los Angeles, but for girls across LA who never imagined they could one day serve as Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department.”

Terrazas, a 39-year veteran of LAFD, proudly backed Crowley’s nomination, calling her “an exemplary leader.”

“It was a privilege to serve as the Fire Chief of this world-class Department,” he said. “For nearly eight years, we made considerable strides in technology, implemented innovative ways to respond to emergencies, and became a model for other agencies. Chief Crowley is an exemplary leader and has a broad base of experience that will serve the Department well. She has risen through the ranks over the past 26 years and I proudly promoted her three times during my tenure because she demonstrated a commitment to advancing the Department. Chief Crowley has been successful at every position and I expect her success to continue as the next Fire Chief.”

Terrazas was sworn in as chief in 2014 and was the first Latino to serve in that role.

“For nearly 40 years, (Terrazas) has served our Fire Department with bravery, determination and compassion for the Angelenos he’s sworn to protect,” said Garcetti. “I couldn’t imagine having anyone else as Fire Chief, through some of the most difficult fire and public safety challenges L.A. has ever faced. And when a once-in-a-century pandemic hit, Ralph’s leadership and bold action helped us save countless lives. I am honored to have served alongside him, and I know the mark he’s left on this city will never be forgotten.”

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