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Deena Lee, a 16-year-veteran of the El Segundo Fire Department, will be the South Bay's first fire battalion chief. (Photo courtesy of El Segundo Fire Department)

El Segundo Fire Department officially appointed the first female fire battalion chief in the South Bay region May 21.

Deena Lee, a 16-year veteran who joined the department in 2003 and was promoted to fire captain in 2007, was welcomed into her new role at a badge pinning ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

“El Segundo is home to many accomplished female executives in the public and private sectors; Denna is joining this esteemed list of professionals,” said Mayor Drew Boyles. “She is a hard-working, dedicated firefighter who has earned our support and respect, as well as this critical position in our community.”

Lee will be assigned to the B shift, according to city sources, and will lead training, health and safety efforts for the department.

“As a battalion chief, I look forward to deeper engagement with the El Segundo community,” commented Lee, who said she was honored to be the first female battalion chief in the region. “I attribute my success to being driven, courageous, hard-working, and dedicated to helping people.”

Fire Chief Chris Donovan said Lee’s experience, leadership skills and technical expertise made her a perfect candidate for the position and that she is well prepared for her new duties.

“Her dedication to fire service is unparalleled and I look forward to having her on the management team,” Donovan added, noting Lee excelled above all other candidates on a rigorous promotional exam.

Lee's previous experience includes tenure as a safety equipment officer and platoon training officer, as well as membership in the department’s Rapid Extraction Modular Support Team, a specialized unit deployed to major incidents to provide support for injured or ill firefighters.

She also volunteers with the Women’s Fire Alliance and Girls’ Fire Camps, an organization for young women ages 14 to 19, and is currently mentoring a high school student interning at the El Segundo Fire Department.

“Deena is an outstanding role model for young women looking at public safety as a career,” City Manager Greg Carpenter said, adding that he was proud of her accomplishment. “(She) is a first-rate employee and is well-deserving of this promotion.”

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