Friday, February 26, 2021
L.A.’s new Fire Chief
By Peter Brown, Sentinel contributing writer
Published September 7, 2011

Brian L Cummings

Mayor Villaraigosa Nominates Third Consecutive African American to Lead the Los Angeles Fire Department


Los Angeles, CA–In a historic and unprecedented move, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa names a third consecutive African American to lead the Los Angeles Fire Department.

On Wednesday at Fire Station 34 in South Los Angeles, Villaraigosa announced his selection of a veteran of the LAFD, Brian Cummings, to become the new department Chief. Villaraigosa made him the Interim Chief in July before undertaking a national search for a permanent replacement.

“With over 30 years of experience, Chief Brian Cummings has a proven track record of personal dedication to the Los Angeles Fire Department-the son of a pioneer of the department, his legacy is key to his commitment to LAFD,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “When the department was faced with financial constraints, Chief Cummings stood out as the visionary architect responsible for developing a new deployment plan and moving the department forward into the 21st century. I look forward to Chief Cummings’s tenure as Chief as he continues to build upon our world-class fire department. “

Cummings replaces Chief Millage Peaks who announced his retirement this past May after serving in the position for nearly two years. Peaks, the second African American to serve as LAFD Chief, replaced Chief Douglas Barry, who became the first African American Chief to take over the department in 2007 at the height of a hazing controversy and allegations of racial bias within the LAFD. All three appointments were made by Villaraigosa who has demonstrated an unrelenting effort to root out hazing and to eliminate racial or gender bias in any form within the department.

Like both of his predecessors, Cummings has a long and outstanding career within the city’s own department. Over the past three decades, Cummings has risen through the ranks after serving in several Engine Companies throughout the city before becoming a training academy instructor and eventually becoming Assistant Chief.

“I am honored and excited to accept the position as the 17th Fire Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department,” Cummings said in a released statement. “I look forward to working together with our talented men and women, sworn civilian and volunteers, as we provide world-class public safety and service for all the communities of Los Angeles.”


Born and raised in Los Angeles, Chief Cummings followed in his father’s footsteps, a 30 year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department. In fact, Cummings’ is not the only active firefighter in the family; he has a brother who is a Captain I in the Harbor Gateway area.

Chief Cummings graduated from Loyola High School before attending both West Los Angeles College and the UCLA. Cummings started his career in 1980. He is married and is the proud father of two beautiful daughters.

Cummings selection as Chief now goes to the Los Angeles City Council for final approval.

Categories: Local

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