Women have a long and storied history as firefighters, but it is only lately that a majority of females have officially started to pursue a career in the fire service. While some volunteer fire departments have been including women for many years, many are only starting to do so now. Among many women as firefighters an LBCC alumna Deena Lee, battalion chief for the El Segundo Fire Department has made history as she became the first woman chief. She breaks the stereotype that women are not able to work in a better way.
Looking at Deena Lee’s career it seems like she has the habit of making history as she has served El Segundo Fire since 2003. She became a captain in 2007 and finally Lee was chosen as the South Bay’s first-ever battalion chief in 2019. Lee is eager to do something for the next generation of firefighters. She has shown her intention that after becoming chief she will launch a fire camp for girls aged 13 to 19.
Furthermore, Lee recalled how she always heard at her Fire 101 course at Long Beach City College, that the hiring process is very selective and very difficult. She knew at that time that only one in her class of 30 would become a fire chief. She used to think at that time that she would be that one person to become the fire chief.
Her hard work and dedication helped her achieve her dreams. Lee took the oath as the City of El Segundo’s Fire Chief on Dec. 7 and became the only female fire chief in South Bay history and the only woman currently working in that position in Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties. Moreover, Lee has also been one of the few women tutors in fire science as an instructor at El Camino College’s (ECC) Fire Academy since 2004.