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May 19, 2019
Retirees Corner



Friday, December 14th, at 0800 hours, Captain Dave Fierro retires from active duty with the Santa Barbara City Fire Department after 34 years of service.

 Dave was hired as a Firefighter on March 27th, 1978, promoted to Engineer on July 7th, 1984, and promoted to Captain on June 30th, 2001. Dave has, during his career, been assigned to all three shifts and stations 1,3,4,5,6, and 7.

 Dave’s career has seen some of Santa Barbara’s major emergencies including the Sycamore, Chrysler, Stearns Warf, Painted Cave, Santa Barbara Bank/Trust, Zaca, Jesusita, and Tea fires. He is a current state certified USAR instructor, and was a driver s trainer for the SBFD when he held the rank of Engineer.

 Dave is one of our rare ‘true’ locals, born and raised in Santa Barbara, attending Santa Barbara High and Santa Barbara City College

 Congratulations to Dave, wife Kaylyn, and children Quinn, Chase, Steven, and Jaclyn. 



December 2, 2012

Mike joined the Santa Barbara City Fire Department with Freddie Simonds and Lee Waldron on October 1, 1984, and began the 6 week academy making $1655 per month. He was transferred to the Haz Mat team at station 3A in May of 1986. Mike was promoted to Fire Engineer in December of 1990, and then to Captain in August of 1996. He was assigned to the ladder truck on C Shift in 1997.

 As ladder truck captain, Mike worked on several projects. He was instrumental  in making our Squad an OES state certified Heavy Rescue. He has been an instructor for the department’s quarterly USAR training, and has been an instructor during many recruit academies over the years, sharing his experience with the department’s new firefighters. He was a member of the ladder truck replacement project in 2010.

 In 2011 Mike received the prestigious Tin Man award for Leadership with a Heart for his many years of work, and leadership within the department, and for his work developing the water rescue program which he has been involved in since 1994.

 He completed his Acting Battalion Chief certification in February of 2008. During his time as the A Shift Acting Battalion Chief in 2009, Mike commanded several significant incidents including a multiple set arson fire on Stearn’s Wharf, and a rollover extrication on APS. He also oversaw several projects including the Scott room project at Station 5.

 Some of the significant events that Mike has responded to over the years include the Southern Hotel Fire, the Paint Fire, the 1998 Stearn’s Wharf Fire, the Tea Fire, the Jesusita Fire, the Fawnskin Fire, and the Sea Cliff Train Derailment,  

 Mike, we wish you and Pat well in your retirement, and hope to see you around here and in the water in the years to come. We will miss your down to earth, unselfish, common sense leadership style, and though you probably wont be coming to work as much, we hope to continue working with you here at the SBFD, and that our friendship will continue to grow. Best of luck Mike, and we’ll see you in the lineup.    





Today Fire Captain Heidi Rockenbach will retire from the Santa Barbara City Fire Department after 22 years of service.

Heidi, a graduate of Bishop Diego High School was hired on March 13, 1990. She had previously worked as an EMT for a local ambulance company. She was promoted to Engineer in July of 1997 and Captain in November of 2007. These were both groundbreaking achievements as Heidi was thefirst woman to hold rank in either position.

During her career Heidi served as an instructor in the Recruit Academy, the SBFD Engineers Academy, the A Shift Driving Instructor and was the Santa Barbara Host Lions Club Firefighter of the Year in 2006. She also served on California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee Commission to Recruit Women for the Fire Service in 2009.

We will miss Heidi and her calm professionalism. We wish Heidi and her husband Ed, the best in retirement.


                                                         Fire Captain Paul Teschner


Paul Teschner began his fire service career in 1975 with the Pismo Beach Fire Department and the USFS. He was hired by the Santa Barbara City Fire Department as a firefighter on February 8th 1982. Paul was promoted to Captain on June 30th, 2001.  Throughout Paul’s career he worked on all three shifts and was assigned to Station 1, 3, 4 and 8. Paul was assigned to the Hazardous Materials Team and served as Team Leader. Paul was an inaugural member of the original Station 8 personnel and has been ARFF certified for 21 years. He has been instrumental with the training of ARFF personnel and he developed the ARFF Certification Training Manual. Additionally, Paul was the incident commander when Oprah Winfrey’s jet made an emergency landing.  In 2004 Paul was recognized as Firefighter of Year by the Lions Club and in 2008 by the National ARFF Working Group for his commitment to ARFF Training.   Paul’s plans for retirement include trips to Maine, fishing and watching Cal and Cal Poly football games.  He will be enjoying his retirement with his wife Cheryl and daughters Dawn and Devin. We wish Paul and his family a healthy and prosperous retirement. Paul thank you for your professionalism and commitment to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.




Captain Franc Chacon


Franc has spent almost 32 years of continuous and dedicated service with the SBFD and an impressive 34 years in the fire service. Franc was hired as a Firefighter in the spring of 1980, promoted to the rank of Engineer in July 1984, and to Captain in September of 1987. He retires as a member of the departments HazMat team and is currently USAR and Acting Battalion Chief certified. During his career, Franc was also ARFF certified and still holds several Red Card qualifications.

 Franc's career has seen many of Santa Barbara's largest fires, including two Sterns Warf fires, the Paint Fire, The Santa Barbara Bank and Trust Fire, and the Tea and Jesusita fires. Franc also fought the Calabassas Day, Station, Zaca, and La Brea fires out of our area.

 Franc's experience and firehouse presence will be missed. Congratulations to Franc and Jeanette o  retirement and entering the next chapter of your lives, enjoy your 'caminos'. 



                                                  Captain Bill Taff

This morning, June 28th, at 0800 hours, Captain Bill Taff retires from active duty with the Santa Barbara City Fire Department after over 39 years of service.
     Bill was hired as a Firefighter on April 16th, 1972, promoted to Engineer on November 1, 1975, and promoted to Captain on August 9th, 1980. Bill has, during his career, been assigned to all eight of our stations, but proudly remained on B shift for all 39 years. Captain Taff is known and respected for his calm demeanor on emergencies, integrity, vast knowledge, and his ability to fill our days with lengthy but interesting anecdotes. Additionally, Bill served several years as an Association board member, and two years as president.
     It is difficult to imagine the SBFD without Bill.
     AW, congratulations to you, Lisa, your five children, and 14 grandchildren. You will be missed.



                                                       ENGINEER MIKE SCHUIT

      Prior to joining the SBFD, Mike Schuit served 4 years in the United States Air Force as a Firefighter and was honorable discharged.
     He began his career with the Santa Barbara City Fire Department on September 15th, 1977 and was assigned to A Shift. In 1990 he was promoted to A Shift Truck Engineer and will be retiring from that assignment. During Mike’s career he instructed in numerous recruit academies, department wide USAR classes and was a shift driving instructor. He also participated in promotional exams, training and safety committees and contributed his outstanding artwork to department programs.
      In 1987, Mike was recognized as the Firefighter of the Year by the Lion Clubs.  Throughout his career, Mike responded to numerous emergencies, some which include the Sycamore Canyon Fire, Chrysler Plymouth, Stearns Wharf, Southern Hotel, Bob’s Canvas, Paint, Tea and Jesusita Fire.  
     Mike has bestowed a treasure on this Department with his artwork and drawings of his fellow firefighters. A gallery of his work was established last year and many of his portraits now line the upstairs walls of Station One. It is a priceless historical record of his friends. Mike’s plans for retirement include traveling, taking graphics design classes and continuing his artwork.  He will be enjoying his retirement with his girlfriend Dianna and sons Tim and Chris. We wish Mike and his family a healthy and prosperous retirement. Mike thank you for your professionalism and commitment to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.


                                           ENGINEER BOB GARDNER

    Prior to joining the SBFD Bob Gardner was honorable discharged from the United States Navy as a submarine sonarman. He worked a volunteer firefighter for the Orcutt Fire Department and graduated for the Daniel Freeman Paramedic School.
     Bob began his career with the SBFD as a firefighter on May 3rd, 1980 and in 1991 he was promoted to Engineer. During Bob’s career with the SBFD, Bob was assigned to Station 1,2,5,6,7 and is retiring from Station 8. In 1990, Bob was honored as Firefighter of the Year by the Lions Club for his work on the developing and outfitting the Special Response Unit. Throughout his career, Bob responded to numerous emergencies, some which include the Painted Cave, Zaca Tea and Jesusita fire.
     Bob’s plans for retirement include traveling and spending time at his lake house.  He will be enjoying his retirement with his children Jessica, Justin and Alan. We wish Bob and his family a healthy and prosperous retirement. Bob thank you for your professionalism and commitment to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.


                                         CAPTAIN TONY BLANCO

    This morning, December 19th, Captain Tony Blanco will be retiring from the Santa Barbara City Fire Department. His 34 plus year career spanned many of our major incidents, the Sycamore Cyn. Fire, Eagle Cyn. Fire, Chrysler Bldg. fire, Stearns Warf fire, and the Tea and Jesusita fires. Tony has been asigned to stations 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8, and has risen to the challenges of each assignment. Well respected by his peers, Tony is often sought out for advise, and has served several terms as a Board Member of the Firefighters Asso.. Tony has been a major contributor to the successes of the SBFD softball team, both as a player and coach. He showed commitment to his community by coaching Little League baseball for many years.

Tony was rewarded for his character and professional commitment on 1-12-2002 by being promoted to Captain. As a Captain he has been a mentor to many. His diligence to duty remains appreciated.

Tony, congratulations to you, Connie, Marisa, and Alisha on a stellar career in wich you touched many in the community and in the workplace.


                                          CAPTAIN TOM HAINES

     December 14th marked the last day in the career of Fire Captain Thomas J. Haines. At 0800 Tom will leave Station 6 on the Mesa to begin his retirement.

      Tom was born in Buffalo New York and at an early age left the brutal East Coast weather for the rural pleasures of Palos Verdes California. He was a graduate of Palos Verdes High School and moved up the coast to attend Santa Barbara City College. Tom worked for a while in the State Park System in Humboldt and later at Gaviota State Park.

       In 1975 Tom began working for the City of Santa Barbara in the public works and parking Divisions. On the 8th of August in 1978 Tom was hired as a probationary Firefighter for the SBFD for a starting biweekly salary of 477.00.

       Tom took a temporary leave from the Department and tried his luck as a firefighter in the Seattle area. He, of course, came crawling back to the SBFD in short order. He called then Chief Peterson on a Friday afternoon in 1979 and asked about the possibility of returning. After a pause, Chief Peterson asked him if he still had any blue shirts, when Tom replied that he did indeed, he was ordered to report to work on Monday, 48 hours later. He has been one of us ever since.

        Tom was promoted to Engineer in 1984 and to Captain a year later in October of 1985. He has had a remarkable 25 year run as Captain.

        Tom was Lead Captain at Station one for over a decade and has been an instrumental leader in training of new firefighters throughout his career, both as a Station Captain and Academy instructor. He served as a Boardmember of the Association and throughout his career been very generous with his time in helping out in his community.

        Tom’s file is filled with the acknowledgements of his supervisors and Chiefs from other Departments for outstanding performance. These go back decades and reflect a career of great dedication. The fires he was involved in have names familiar to us all: Tea, Jesusita, Stearns Wharf, Eagle Canyon, Chrysler Plymouth and others far to numerous to mention.

         Tom goes into retirement with his wife Lynda at his side and his children Kyle and  Alyssa successfully pursuing their academic careers.

Tom we all wish you the best. You have truly earned it. Have a fresh cup of joe on us.


 Steve Felix began his career with the Santa Barbara City Fire Department on May 16th, 1972. As a probationary firefighter, Steve was assigned to Station 6 when the fire department was operating on a two platoon system. In 1976 he was promoted to Engineer and in 1983 to Captain. During Steve’s career with the SBFD, Steve was assigned to Station 1 where he worked as the Lead Captain, Station 2 and is retiring from Station 6. Steve instructed recruit academies and participated in hiring and promotional boards. Throughout his career, Steve responded to numerous emergencies, some which include the Sycamore Canyon Fire, two Harbor restaurant fires, two Stearns Wharf Fires, the Santa Barbara Bank and Trust Fire, the Tea and Jesusita fire. Steve’s plans for retirement include hunting, fishing and traveling.  He will be enjoying his retirement with his wife Diane and sons Brian and James. We wish Steve and his family a healthy and prosperous retirement. Steve thank you for your professionalism and commitment to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department


     John Carrillo began his career with the City of Santa Barbara in September of 1978 as an Auto Mechanic for Public Works. John worked on many different types of automobiles and apparatus. In 1984 he was promoted to Senior Mechanic and began to work on fire apparatus. In 1989 John became a member of the SBFD as a firefighter. He was promoted to Fire Engineer in 1994. During John’s career with the SBFD, John was assigned to Station 1, 4, 6, and is retiring from Station 8. Throughout his career, John responded to numerous emergencies, some which include the Mc Nall’s Fire, Paint Fire, Stearns Wharf Fire, Santa Barbara Bank and Trust Fire. John received the Firefighter of the Year award and served on the Santa Barbara Firefighters Board of Directors. John’s plans for retirement include coaching girl’s softball for Lompoc High School, playing golf and motorcycle riding. He will be enjoying his retirement with his wife Suzy, daughters Erica, Kasey, Gina and his son Jason. We wish John and family a healthy and prosperous retirement. John thank you for your professionalism and commitment to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.



   Steve is that rarest of things, a native Santa Barbarian. He retires after a 30 year career from Station 2 on the lower Eastside. It is altogether fitting that he does so. Steve was raised on the East side, went to grade school at Our Lady of Guadalupe.  He then attended Bishop Diego High School where he is remembered as an outstanding athlete. In recent years he has returned to Bishop to help coach the Football team.

 Steve served his country in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War era. He then returned to California where he worked for the State Parks system. He tested for the Santa Barbara City Fire Department in 1979 and began his career in 1980.

 Steve has been a valuable member of the SB City Fire Department for the last 30 years. He has been a Board member of our Association and an instructor for our recruit academy. For many years he has been a valued member of the Hazardous Materials Team. Steve deserves special recognition for his heroic actions at the Tea Fire where his treatment of two burn victims was critical to their survival.

 Steve goes into retirement and a very active life with his beautiful wife Pam at his side. They have two children, David who attends the University of Oregon and Emily at the University of Santa Clara.

 Steve will also be remembered for his kindness, compassion and genuine love of people. He is truly one of the good guys.



 Today, after 33 years, we bid goodbye to Fire Captain Stanley Phelps Thompson. Stan was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and moved to Sacramento at an early age where his father and mother were both college educators. Stan moved to Santa Barbara in 1971 to attend UCSB. While attending the University he began working for the USFS as a seasonal Firefighter. After graduating with a degree in Political Science, Stan applied for a job with the City of Santa Barbara Fire Department.

 On October 7, 1977, Stan, along with Allan Cloud and Brad Simon, began his career with the SBFD. After a short, misguided sojurn on A Shift, in March 1978, Stan began his career long assignment to B Shift where he remains to this day.

 Stan was promoted from Firefighter to Captain on September 26th, 1998. He has participated in most of the major fires and disasters in the Santa Barbara are over the past 30 years. Those include, but are not limited to, the Honda Canyon Fire which resulted in several Firefighter fatalities in December of 1977, the Carpinteria packing house fire, the Chrysler-Plymouth Fire, the Eagle Canyon Fire, the Tea and Jesusita Fires.

 Throughout his career Stan has been an active and very vocal participant in the Santa Barbara City Firefighters Association and Political Action committee. He was a Boardmember, and Labor negotiator for many years. His public speaking skills are the stuff of local legend and his ability to bestow just the right nickname, at just the right time, is equally legendary and best left talked about at another time in another forum.  He expanded the lexicon of the Santa Barbara Fire Department and many descriptive phrases originated by Stan will live on long after his retirement.

 Stan is an avid sportsman and enjoys surfing, skiing, fishing among his outdoor activities. He is also a gifted writer and book lover. He is equally interested in music and a is regular attendee at the annual Strawberry Music Festival, and boasts an enviable guitar collection. Stan was also a member of the Departments softball and baseball teams for many years. Stan will go into an active retirement with his beautiful wife Debbie at his side. They have two children, Hilary and Marshall who are a source of great pride for both of their parents.

 We wish Stan and his family all the best as they move on from the Santa Barbara City Fire Department. You will always be a member of our family.



Alan was hired April 23, 1990 as Firefighter with the Santa Barbara Fire Department. After 13 years in supression Alan moved into the Prevention Bureu as an Inspector I. He worked in Prevention until his retirement on June 30, 2010. We hope Alan enjoys his retirement and thank him for his years of dedicated service to the citizens of Santa Barbara.

     Worked at Station 1 on the Rescue and Engine 1 and Station 4

     Worked on the Painted Cave Fire, SBBT Fire, Stearn’s Wharf Fire, Tea Fire and Jesusita Fire.

     Was assigned as a Base Camp Manager in the ICS at 9 different wildland fires throughout the state of California. Including the Tea and Jesusita Fires.

     Also worked and assigned as a Emergency Services Manager with the Santa Barbara Office of Emergency Services.

    Was the most requested instructor at the fire department providing  CPR/AED/First Aid/CERT and Disaster Preparedness Training for the public at Station #1 throughout his entire career and for Risk Management to all city employees for 18 years.

     Was honored by the County of Santa Barbara 2 times for saving a life and years of hard work with the Mentor program at the Los Prietos Boys Camp with a commendation of appreciation.

     Lives with his amazing wife Pamela of 32 years. They have been together since high school. His son Shane is pursuing a career in the Fire Service and his daughter Lauren is in Nursing at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara.

     Alan and Pamela (That’s my wife’s name) lives at the lake in Paso Robles and is now the Environmental, Health and Safety Coordinator for a worldwide oil company called Applied Technologies/Scientific Drilling.



Daniel McCarter was born May 15, 1957 in Redondo Beach, CA. He was the second of seven siblings and spent the majority of his childhood in Thousand Oaks, CA. He graduated from Thousand Oaks High School in 1975 and worked as a mechanic for two years before joining the army in 1977. He spent three and a half years in the military, serving in the 10th Special Forces and retiring with the rank of sergeant. He returned to California where he attended Moorpark Junior College and received an A.S. degree in fire science.

Daniel was hired with the Santa Barbara City Fire Department in 1982. He promoted to the rank of Engineer in 1987 and to Captain in 1999. He spent the majority of his career at station three where he was one of the founding members of the Hazardous Materials Team. Anyone who visits station three can see his indelible mark in the detailed decorative half hitching on the stairway banister. He also worked several years at stations one and two and spent his last years at station seven where he strengthened his knowledge of wild land firefighting.

He enjoyed anything pertaining to ropes, knots, and rope systems and taught many classes to both department members and Allen Hancock students on this and many other subjects.

Engineer Bill MacDuffee

Bill MacDuffee was born August 10, 1957 in Ventura, Calif. He grew up there and graduated from Ventura High.. After High School he took a year off from school and sailed a 26' sailboat to and from Hawaii accompanied by his life long buddy Terrance. From 1977 to 1981 he attended the Maritime Academy in San Francisco and received his Sea Captains certification. During the '80's he was Captain of a Research Vessel, doing top secret work for the Navy and also working with submarines.

In 1990 he was hired for the big Fire Academy of 10 rookies we trained when we opened up the Airport Fire Station. He worked at Station 1 and relief positions until he joined the Haz Mat Team where he worked for 7 years. He was promoted to Engineer in 2000 and was assigned to 2's, 4's, and 7's. He transferred to Station 8 and ARFF in 2005.

Bill was a pleasure to work with and he displayed a fine work ethic and an attitude toward the job. My favorite saying of his was: " It's an easy job, it's the people that make it hard". Bill only retired in name from the Fire Service. He will continue working as a Sea Captain on the Shearwater with his friend Terrance. The Shearwater serves the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary. Good luck Bill, may your life and the seas you sail be good to you. You deserve it.

Captain Fred Simonds

     Fred Simonds was born on December 4, 1951 in Pasadena, California, the middle of three children. Fred attended boarding school on Catalina Island where his true love for sailing and the ocean was discovered. In the late seventies Fred decided to pursue a career in the fire service. To gain experience he became a reserve fire fighter for the Ventura County Fire Department. In 1983 he was picked up full time by the City of San Marino Fire Department just outside Pasadena. It wasn't until October 1, 1984 that Fred was picked up by the City of Santa Barbara Fire Department. Fred promoted through the ranks to the captain's position during his 22 years with SBFD. He spent 12 years at station 3, and the remainder at station 1 then station 8. Fred contributed much to the department serving many years as union president as well as lead captain at station 1 on B shift.    

     Fred and wife Georgia now reside in Anacortes, Washington where he pursues his passion for boating and the ocean. Fred Simonds is a great fire fighter, husband, and father. I am privileged to have him as a father and role model, and am proud to follow in his foot steps as a fire fighter for the City of Santa Barbara.

                                                  By Firefighter Spencer Simonds, 5C


Page Last Updated: Dec 16, 2012 (21:46:47)
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