(L-R) Museum President; Captain Brent Burton, Delores Orduna, Gloria Orduna-O’Quinn, Museum Board members; Firefighter Gerald Durant, Firefighter Paramedic Michelle Banks, Akosua Hobert and Assistant Chief Kwame Cooper. (Photo by Robert Gladden)
January 17, 2013 marked the 86th birthday of the late retired Assistant Fire Chief Paul Orduna. A true trailblazer in the Los Angeles Fire Department, Chief Orduna started his career in Omaha Nebraska where he served in a segregated fire department. Upon coming to Los Angeles in 1957 to join the LAFD, he became the first African American Firefighter to complete his probationary period after the LAFD integrated.
Chief Orduna passed away in October of 2012, but his daughter and former wife did not have a permanent location to honor his memory. They contacted the African American Firefighter Museum and requested to have the Museum serve as place where the family and others could come to remember the late Chief.
A plaque with Chief Orduna’s name was unveiled in the Museum’s rear courtyard on Thursday, January 17. Retired and active firefighters attended the unveiling along with LAFD Fire Chief Brian Cummings and LACoFD Fire Chief Daryl Osby.
After the ceremony, Assistant Chief Kwame Cooper presented Mrs. Gloria Orduna-O’Quinn with a copy of the book, “The Old Stentorians”, the story of the history of Los Angeles’ African American Firefighters written in 1974 by Anrett Hartsfield and Billy Mills.