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By craiG Fletcher, captain retired, Fs 109-c photos By FF/pm chris wan, Fs 55-B


t wasn’t your typical Sunday afternoon at Fire Station 109. It was a very special occasion for Allen Bart that included his family, cur- rent and past station members, and a lot of old retirees. They came

to bid congratulations for his last shift after 35 years of service to the Fire Department. Now the delicious BBQ tri-tips and chicken may have been part of the reason for the excellent turnout, but I think Allen was the real draw. Allen was destined to be a 30 year engineer. At age 15 he was

working in his father’s auto repair shop in Van Nuys. He married his wife Tina in 1973 and joined the LAFD in 1977. He probably never told too many people inside the LAFD but he continued to work part time for his father until 1987. Al has two sons who have followed in his footsteps. Matthew has

10 years with the LAFD and is an engineer at 72’s. Kevin just promoted to engineer with Ventura County in his 7th year. Al and Tina have four grand- children, with one more due in May. Allen is a very busy and devoted son, dad, grandfather, and husband. Now that Allen will be retired and not be seeing much of the

dreaded 405 any longer, Gov. Jerry Brown sent him a little gift to remember the most congested strip of roadway in all of America. In 25 years at 109’s, Al has driven over the Mulholland Bridge 1000’s of times. In commemo- ration, the Governor sent Allen a two pound chunk of concrete from the demolished Mulholland Bridge. It will look nice on his mantel at home, a memory of the countless hours spent on the 405 Freeway. Next, I was privileged to present Allen with his Personal Record

Book. Dave Wagner bestowed the Retirement Badge provided by the Relief Association, and an emotional Fernando de Los Cobos presented the Sta- tion Gift. Due to budget cuts (seriously) the City failed to provide a 35 year pin or a City Council resolution. Finally, Allen’s sons Matthew and Kevin presented their dad

with a beautiful plaque with a beautiful polished 4 way-valve, the Depart- ment Badge and a LAFD Engineer Helmet. After the presentation, each son spoke of there great relationship with their father; how he set such a great example for them to follow, and how they both were thankful of his com- mitment to there mom and family. Allen was a bit overwhelmed by all the events so far, but took

the fl oor after all the others. He isn’t the type who is at all fl ashy or wants special attention. He gathered his thoughts and thanked all in attendance. He gave a special thanks to his family and station personnel who helped prepare the food and tables. He took a small opportunity to pay special tribute for those who, while on his watch, have passed on but are not forgotten.

He told a few fi rehouse tales but he chose to go into detail about an incident he responded to 20 years ago. It was a multi-casualty in the Sepulveda Pass where a head on collision had occurred. He recalled how most emergency personnel on-scene were concentrated on the severely in- jured. But he remembers fi nding an infant strapped in a car seat that every- one else had overlooked. Allen wondered to all present what ever became of the child? That’s the Fire Bizz.

Al then switched to a little lighter conversation. He was surprised

that no one had said anything but pure positives about his career, so he like the great engineer he is, he shifted gears and roasted himself. He recalled a few incidents that didn’t go quite so well, like the time he lost the rig’s oil plug and remained NAV over two hours for an oil change. And the time that he was responsible for a ’63 Crown that was accidently fi lled with diesel fuel.

April 2012 • 43 In addition to be-

ing a great engineer, Allen is a person who maintains his physical condition like no other of his age – and even better than most men years younger. He has in the last 10 years become quite an ac- complished mountaineer. I’m not talking about the little hills around Los Angeles. We’re talking Mt. Rainier in Washington, 20,000’ peaks in Ecuador, and Aconcagua, the highest in South America at almost 23,000’. He attempted Denali in Alaska last year, and he and Chuck Bucher will once again try to reach the summit of North America in May. It was my pleasure to have worked alongside Allen for the 17

years he was my engineer. Any captain would be lucky to have such a qual- ity engineer and person on his crew. Our manuals describe the duties and responsibilities of an engineer. If they ever put pictures next to the descrip- tion, his would be an excellent choice. Congratulations to Engineer Allen Bart, and wife Tina, for 35

great years of service. You made quite an impression on everyone who had the honor to work with you, especially me. Enjoy your free time now, as you still have many, many mountains to climb.

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