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Stuart Flintham

Spence D. Turner

Cecil Gehr

Keith Klinger

Richard Houts

Clyde Bragdon

John Englund

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Richard Houts
County of Los Angeles Fire Department


1969 ยท 1977

Chief HoutsAs was the case with Chief Klinger, Fire Chief Richard Houts came from a family with Department experience; his father had been a firefighter, engineer, and captain before him.

Houts was hired by the Forester and Fire Warden Division of the Department in 1942 at the age of 18. He served in the U.S. Army for four years during World War II. Upon his return, he rose rapidly through the ranks. He spent time in several top administrative positions, such as Construction, Fire Prevention, and Research and Planning on his way to the top.

Houts dealt with several major financial concerns during his tenure as Fire Chief, including the fixed property tax rate and stretching services thinly enough to require the closing of several fire stations. At the same time, the exciting emergence of the Department's new paramedic program, highlighted by the launch of the television series "Emergency!" skyrocketed the Department's visibility on the national scene.

Ensuring that the Department's image and depiction in the series remain authentic, Houts was tasked with coordinating closely with television producers Jack Webb and Robert Cinader. Coordination and leadership was also shown, as 10 additional cities contracted with Los Angeles County for fire protection during his tenure. Houts retired in 1977 with 40 years of service.


Borrowed from the County of Los Angeles Fire Department