El Segundo Fire Chief Deena Lee has announced her retirement after 20 years of professional fire service, effective April 27, 2023. Chief Lee became the first female fire chief in the South Bay when she was appointed in October 2021. She brought the highly successful “Fired Up! Girls Empowerment Camp” to El Segundo and leaves a legacy of encouraging and inspiring girls and women to join the fire service.
“We are grateful to Chief Lee for her many years of service to the El Segundo Fire Department and wish her well in her retirement,” said City Manager Darrell George.
Chief Lee began her career in the fire service as a volunteer firefighter for the City of La Habra Heights. She then joined the City of La Verne Fire Department as an apprentice firefighter. Chief Lee joined the El Segundo Fire Department in 2003 as a firefighter and was promoted to fire captain in 2007. She became the first female battalion chief in the South Bay in 2019 and was appointed to acting fire chief July 6, 2021.
“It has been an honor to serve the community of El Segundo. Thank you for entrusting me with this important responsibility,” shared Chief Lee. “I am passionate about public service and will continue to inspire and empower others to overcome obstacles and meet their full potential. I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”
Chief Lee has a bachelor’s degree in fire science from Columbia Southern University and has certifications for Firefighter I and II, Fire Officer, Chief Fire Officer, Urban Search and Rescue and more than 100 other fire service certifications. She is a certified instructor with the California State Fire Marshal and has worked as an instructor for El Camino Fire Academy for more than 17 years.
Chief Lee has committed to community engagement through her career. She volunteered at the El Segundo Library, participated in the ESMoA Living Library, and presented to the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. She also volunteered with the non-profit organization Women’s Fire Alliance and is dedicated to mentoring young women and being a positive role model.