Jose M. Torres:
Jose M. Torres

Spokesperson (Ret. Fire Chief)

Entered the fire service while serving my country as an active duty military firefighter in the United States Air Force (U.S.A. F.) in November of 1980. I remained as an active duty Air Force Firefighter for approximately 10 years before separating from active duty in May of 1990. I held the rank of Technical Sergeant (E-6) and served as the Division Chief for Training at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA prior to my separation from active duty. During my tenure in the USAF I was selected to serve in a special “Black-world” Firefighting unit in the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada supporting various top-secret projects.

Another highlight of my USAF career was receiving the Academic Achievement Award while attending the Strategic Air Command’s Non-Commissioned Officer’s Academy, a very high honor.

I joined the Ventura City Fire Department, CA in July of 1990 and moved up through the ranks to acting Captain before moving on to join the Santa Monica Fire Department, CA. While with the Ventura City Fire Department I was recognized for exemplary performance during the severe floods of 1992 and 1995. I was selected as the Firefighter of the Year for 1995 and was given a commendation for serving during the Los Angeles Civil Unrest of April 1992. Our crew was part of a Type-1 strike team that responded to help the citizens of Los Angeles during this event. We specifically served the City of Compton, CA for 3 days and two nights during the civil unrest.

I joined the Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) in January of 1997 and started over as a probationary Firefighter. While serving with the SMFD I rose through the ranks to the position of Division Chief for Training before my retirement on February 10, 2015. While with the SMFD I became a California registered, Los Angeles County accredited Paramedic, Hazardous Materials Technician, State qualified Fire Instructor and State certified Arson Investigator. I received several commendations for exceptional service during the Farmer’s Market Multi-Casualty incident of July 2003, the Jesusita wild-land fire in Santa Barbara, CA in 2009 and outstanding service and performance as the Fire Department’s Incident Commander (Unified Command) for the Synagogue explosion in Santa Monica that occurred on April 7, 2011. In addition, I was invited to be a featured presenter at the Firehouse World West fire conference held in San Diego in February of 2014. I was invited to present on the lessons learned from the June 7,2013 Active Shooter incident that occurred in Santa Monica during President Obama’s visit to Los Angeles.

I was appointed the Fire Chief for the Village of Northbrook, Illinois after a national search on February 16, 2015 and retired on December 31, 2017. During my tenure as the Fire Chief of Northbrook I also served as the Village’s Emergency Preparedness Manager, as one of 5 Trustees for the Northbrook Fire Pension Board, as a member of the Village’s Electrical Commission, as a voting member on the Foreign Fire Insurance Board, as a liaison on the Northbrook Rural Fire Protection District Board, as the Chairman of the Joint Chief’s Authority for the Regional Emergency Dispatch (RED) Center, as the Area 4 Representative for the Illinois Fire Chief’s Association, a member of the International Fire Chief’s Association and served as an appointed member of the Governor of Illinois Firefighting Medal of Honor Committee.