Los Angeles Fire Department
Historical Archive





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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 command.

        My name is Dennis Gorgan and I work for the Los Angeles City Fire Department as a Captain I, assigned to Squad 39 "A" Platoon.

        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






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