Emergency Operations

Deputy Chief Ronnie Villanueva
Deputy Chief Ronnie Villanueva

Deputy Chief Ronnie Villanueva started his career with the LAFD on March 13, 1983. For the last four years of his 39 years of service with the LAFD, Chief Villanueva was formerly assigned as the South Bureau Commander, which encompasses the Harbor area, South Los Angeles, Mid-City, and Century City. He was responsible for 26 fire stations, over 800 sworn personnel, and civilian staff. His assignments have included management of one of the four geographic emergency operations bureaus, Assistant Fire Marshal, Chief of Staff to the Fire Chief, Harbor Homeland Security Commander, Community Liaison Commander (senior Department spokesperson), Division Commander, Battalion Commander, Station and Company Commander, and as with all members, firefighter.

Ronnie has an extensive career working in every section of the 471 square miles within the City of Los Angeles. He has been involved in some of the most significant incidents in the city's history, such as the Northridge earthquake, the Civil Disturbance following the Rodney King verdicts, the First Interstate Bank High Rise fire, the Metrolink Disaster in Chatsworth, multiple wildfires, and the Los Angeles Harbor wharf fire in 2014.

As a dedicated lifelong learner, Ronnie earned his BS degree in Occupational Studies: Vocational Arts from California State University of Long Beach in 2004 and an AA degree in Liberal Arts from Los Angeles Harbor College in 1980. Currently, Ronnie is enrolled in the Executive Master of Leadership program at the University of Southern California, pursuing a Master's degree. He has received specialized training/certifications, such as: Leadership in Crises Course, Harvard Kennedy School, Boston, MA; Graduated from the Los Angeles Fire Department Leadership Academy; Enhanced Incident Management and Unified Command course Phase I & II; and, National Rescue & Response Training Center, College Station, TX. In addition to his education and training, Ronnie has received Awards of Appreciation from Chile, Mexico, and Germany for sharing department information and safe practices to improve operational needs in each country. Ronnie has demonstrated commitment to community service through his continued involvement with the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce Quality of Life committee and MySafe:LA, a 501c3 which provides fire safety canvassing after significant incidents, fire prevention, and education in schools.


During his leisure time, Ronnie likes to spend quality moments with his family, go on vacations, exercise, read, practice yoga, and play golf.

The primary responsibility of Emergency Operations is to lead, direct, coordinate and control all emergency line functions of the LAFD. This includes the Four Geographic Emergency Operations Bureaus, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Bureau and Medical Director, Metropolitan Fire Communications (MFC) Division, Homeland Security Division, and Air Operations Section. Other responsibilities include:

  • Responding to Major Emergencies and other incidents as an Incident Commander or Agency Administrator.
  • Representing the Fire Chief at City Council, Council Committees and various governmental agency meetings as directed.
  • Representing the Fire Department as a member of the FIRESCOPE Operations Team and Los Angeles Area Fire Chiefs Operations Team.
  • Assigning and overseeing the work of various projects, work groups, and Department committees.
  • Acting as a liaison between the Fire Department and management personnel of other City Departments.
  • Conducting pre-disciplinary hearings and making appropriate recommendations to the Fire Chief of corrective action.