The Santa Barbara City Fire Department has announced the retirement of Operations Division Chief Lee Waldron.
He served in the fire department for 36 years.
He was hired in 1984, promoted to engineer in 1990 and to captain in 1995. In 2010, he became a battalion chief.
He was promoted to operations division chief in May 2015. In this role, he established a Type Three Incident Management Team alongside all the Santa Barbara County agencies.
“Over his whole career and especially the last 10 years, Lee Waldron has been a rock solid fire leader in the Santa Barbara County Operational Area. When I was chief, he was my right arm,” former fire chief Pat McElroy said.
Chief Waldron filled many roles for the department, from serving on the hazmat team to working as an aircraft rescue firefighter. He even helped train recruits as both a captain and battalion chief in the training division.
He served in local firefighter organizations. He was a board member for the Santa Barbara City Firefighters Association and a liaison to the Santa Barbara Firefighters Alliance.
Chief Waldron’s work earned him the title “Firefighter of the Year” by the Santa Barbara City Firefighters Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Lions Club.
The California State Fire Marshal certified him as both a company and chief officer.
He served as the interim fire chief from March 2018 until January 2019.
The department expressed gratitude for Chief Waldron’s service and congratulated him on a long, fruitful career.