Charles Leroy Tenney

Department
Santa Barbara City
Deceased
July 25, 1963

Charles Leroy Tenney was born in Santa Barbara on November 11, 1906. His curiosity and interest in pursuing a career in the fire service was stirred when, at the young age of six, he and his father saw the Santa Barbara City’s first mechanized engine roll by. Excited by the thrill, young Charles knew he wanted to be a part of the profession. In January 1925, the Santa Barbara City Fire Department officially hired Charles on. Throughout his 38-year career, he climbed up the ranks from engineer to captain, from captain to deputy chief. In September 1938, he had reached the height of his purpose driven career and earned top rank as fire chief. He was just 31 years old at the time. In July 1963, he suffered a fatal hear attack while on duty. During his tenure, Chief Tenney was credited in building a foundation of professionalism and efficiency with an aim to move Santa Barbara City’s Fire Department forward. His proud legacy continues to live on.

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