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Chief Engineers - Chiefs of Department:

Albert J. Sullivan

Albert J. Sullivan in 1938

Albert J. Sullivan in 1909

Albert J. Sullivan
Chief Engineer
1943 - 1948

  • Appointed August 18, 1909, age 22, occupation, iron worker
    • Assignments as a fireman; Engine Co. No. 9, 1910, Chemical Engine Co. No. 11, 1911 and Engine Co. No. 44, 1912
  • Appointed Lieutenant, September 24, 1919
    • Assigned to Truck Co. No. 3, 1918
  • Appointed Captain, September 24, 1919
    • Assignments as a Captain, Engine Co. No. 8, 1919, Truck Co. No. 3, 1920
  • Appointed Battalion Chief, August 1, 1922
  • Appointed Assistant Chief, January 1923
    • Assigned to Division 1, 1925
  • Appointed Chief Engineer, March 17, 1943
  • Retired, January 1948
  • Died - 1964

Highlights of his tenure as Chief Engineer:

  • Organized the Fire Auxiliary Reserve to augment the staffing during World War II
    • Created by ordinance as an emergency supplement to the Fire Department
    • Attracted the membership of many public spirited citizens
    • Training also became the Departments responsibility
  • Organized the creation of the Plant Protection Service to cover all phases of preventive and protective measures applicable to industry and institutions
  • 1947, initiated the "Fire College" concept of training by emphasizes class work as of equal importance as development of manipulative skills of the Drill Tower

Albert J. Sullivan was appointed Chief Engineer on the 17th of March, 1943 and was immediately confronted with the many problems created by World War II. Already two hundred and thirteen firemen were on military leave, and every month brought new vacancies. Temporary replacements employed to fill the gap required extensive training. The Fire Auxiliary Reserve, created by ordinance as an emergency supplement to the Fire Department, was attracting the membership of many public spirited citizens, and their training also became the Departments responsibility.

The rapidly expanding war born industrial installations brought their own problems of inspection, regulation, and protection. A result of this expansion was the creation of the Plant Protection Service. This department subdivision is dedicated to advising, planning, and developing all phases of preventive and protective measures applicable to industry and institutions.

In October of 1947 the classrooms of City College were pressed into service as a supplemental training center, allowing the training program to proceed at an accelerated pace. Chief Sullivan, realizing that the modern fireman needed much broader training than could be supplied at the Department Drill Tower, had by his progressive action initiated the San Francisco Fire Department "Fire College" concept of training. Today, this concept emphasizes class work as of equal importance as development of manipulative skills.

When Chief Sullivan retired in 1948, he could be satisfied that the Department was close to normal operating standards; manpower shortage was easing, and training was progressing on a higher level than ever before.

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