The City of Pasadena has
dedicated its new Fire Station, No. 36, to the memory of former Fire
Chief James H. Shern.
Shern, the first black fire chief in a city with a population over
100,000, was appointed fire chief July 13, 1972, and retired February 6,
1981, for health reasons. He died January 26, 1982.
Shern was known throughout the United States as one of the most
knowledgeable people in the field of fire protection and bad a long list
of publications and memberships to his credit. He and the fire chiefs of
Burbank and Glendale centralized fire dispatching services for all three
cities, as well as a cooperative automatic move-up system, which is
still operating today as the Verdugo Communications System.
Shern came to Pasadena as fire chief from Los Angeles, where he was the
first black battalion chief, and received many honors during his
lifetime, including the "Outstanding Citizen Award" from the Boy Scouts
of America, an "Outstanding Achievement" award from the Los Angeles City
Council, and saw a Los Angeles City Fire Station dedicated in his honor.
He also served as President of the International Fire Chief's
Association and President of the Foothill Fire Chief's Association.