UNITED FIREFIGHTERS OF LOS ANGELES CITY
LOCAL 112, IAFF, AFL-CIO
1539 BEVERLY BOULEVARD / LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 90026
To: News Media
From: United Firefighters of Los Angeles City
The attached letter was written by Los Angeles City Fire Captain Dennis
Grogan on May 15, 1979, and mailed to the Los Angeles Times. For
whatever reason, the Times chose not to publish his letter.
We believe that Captain Grogan's message is very important and would like
to share it with others.
Per Captain Grogan, you can use it in any way you choose.
Lyle E. Hall, President
United Firefighters of Los Angeles City
Local 112, IAFF, AFL-CIO
This is an open letter to our Mayor
and citizens of Los Angeles City.
The reason I'm writing this letter is
because I'm mad, hurt, disappointed and a bit confused by the many feelings and
thoughts that are running through my mind. I write these words with "NO"
intention of being insubordinate or disrespectful to anyone in my chain of
My name is Dennis Gorgan and I work
for the Los Angeles City Fire Department as a Captain I, assigned to Squad 39
Last Saturday night I lost one of my
Fire Fighters, Lynn Hazlett. Our relationship went much further than our
just working together. Lynn and I came on the Department together in
January, 1962. Prior to that, Lynn was a firefighter with the Inglewood
Fire Department. The one thing that I enjoyed most about Lynn was his
dedication for helping his fellow men. Throughout his years with our
Department, Lynn gave many hours of his own free time to learn as much as he
could in order to be an asset to both the Department and his fellow men.
When the Paramedic Program came about, Lynn went to school on his own time,
driving many times over a hundred miles just to attend classes. Once he
completed these classes, he spent many hours of his off-duty time, away from his
family and children, to ride as a third man on one of our Rescue Ambulances so
he could receive his final certification as a Paramedic for our Department.
Lynn didn't do this for extra money or recognition from his peers; he did this
because he enjoyed helping, assisting and to be a comfort to someone who needed
assistance, no matter how great the call was.
Anytime a detail came in due to a
shortage on a Rescue Ambulance, Lynn would be the first one to volunteer to take
the detail. Due to the fact that I was also a Paramedic, he would come to
me for advice, borrow my books, and would spend many hours just asking questions
about some of the various calls he had worked on to see if he could learn more,
so that the next time he went out to help someone he could do a better job!
Lynn was also a humble man. Two
weeks ago he lost a friend and fellow firefighter, Brian Phillips, in a lumber
yard fire. After Brian's funeral he got together with his wife and told
her that if he was ever killed in a fire, he didn't want the City to make
big deal out of it. He felt the time and extra money cold be put to better use.
He also arranged his will and maters with his wife to make things safer for her
and their first born, which was due at any time.
Lynn also had his faults, as we all
do; but his loyalty and love for his job and fellow men far outweighed any of
those faults. I very seldom saw Lynn angry or upset. That Saturday
morning, the day hat Lynn was to be called by God, that day he was to give his
life to try and help save someone's property, Lynn was angry. He was angry
along with the rest of us; Mr. Mayor, he was angry because we just went
over a report that dealt with our Pension Plan and how you and some of our
so-called Council members and PARASITE community business leaders are going to
put on the June, 1980, ballot a measure to reduce our pension benefits in case
of death, injury or separation form the City.
You have already reduced
our manpower; we are lacking in much needed safety equipment; we use
so-called 30 minute air bottles that when used in a fire are lucky to last 15 to
20 minutes. You fail to give us our raises when due, and you use us as the
brunt of Prop. 13 to justify your actions. We know that you are bitter
against us, Mr. Mayor, because we defeated you on Prop. "O". We also know,
Mr. Mayor, that we cannot depend upon you to back us and support us when things
get going though. We also know that a man is only as good as his word, and
after you received our support, both in time and money for your re-election, you
shut the door on us.
My questions is this, Mr. Mayor,
how much more do you plan on taking away from us? How much more do you
plan on reducing our safety factors (manpower, equipment, stations, etc.), and
last but not least, Mr. Mayor, how much more do you plan on taking away from our
families in case we are killed or injured in the line of duty--how much more do
you plan on reducing our widow's benefits? How much more do you plan on
taking away form Brian's and Lynn's wives and kids? How much more, Mr.
Mayor, how much more? We can only take so much!
Tonight I'm going to attend services
for Lynn, and in my prayers I will tell Lynn that I'm going to fight like hell
for his wife.
Dennis M. Grogan
Captain, Squad 39-A