Schwartz to be Named Honorary Fire Chief
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, May 11, kids and adults alike can sit in a fire truck and meet the firefighters at Station 69 (corner of Sunset and Carey).
On Fire Service Day, there will also be tours of the facility, paramedic demonstrations and demonstrations of the Jaws of Life as firefighters cut the doors and tops off damaged cars.
Station 69 T-shirts and hats will be available for sale (just in time for Mother’s Day), and there will be free FireHouse subs, sponsored by Panish Shea & Boyle LLP.
Resident Bruce Schwartz will be named the new Honorary Fire Chief, taking that position from reigning chief Sharon Kilbride.
In conjunction with the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, Schwartz was largely responsible for creating and placement of the “Restricted Entry, Very High Fire Severity Zone” signs on the hillsides in Pacific Palisades.
Before the signs were approved, this area had several fires on the bluffs that were started inadvertently by the homeless living in the brush.
On two different occasions, fires raced up a Palisades hillside. One fire started on the Via de la Olas Bluffs in the early morning hours and resulted in evacuations—luckily there were no winds that morning.
A second fire spread up the side of the bluffs above Pacific Coast Highway and below the Huntington Palisades, once again resulting in evacuations and causing PCH to be closed, resulting in a massive traffic tie-up.
Once the signs were posted, people could no longer camp in the brush and the signs gave law enforcement officials the ability to ask people to move on. Encampments were cleared and propane stoves, lighters and canisters found in the parkland were removed.
Schwartz was received a 2012 Golden Sparkplug award from the Community Council for his “Safety on Sunset” program, which installed warning signs about the dangers of texting and driving.
As a member of Palisades PRIDE, Schwartz planted flowers (and flags) and cleared street medians on Sunset (at Chautauqua) in an effort to beautify the community. In addition, he was on the committee that pushed the City of L.A. to clear standing water along Palisades Drive.
In 2017, the Community Council named him Citizen of the Year.
Schwartz, a realtor at Palisades Realty since 2002, started his community service after graduating from Hamilton High School in 1975. As part of then-L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley’s new Neighborhood Gardens and Farms program, the city’s first foray into neighborhood gardens, he helped create several community gardens.
In 1979, he was hired to be an agricultural consultant in Kern County, where he worked for 20 years on soil testing, formulating fertilizers and other agricultural endeavors.
In a 2017 story (“Schwartz Named Citizen of the Year”), writer Laurel Busby interviewed the activist.
“I just believe in giving back,” said Schwartz, whose mother, Rachel, also lives in the Palisades. “You live in a beautiful community; you help keep it clean. You try to be involved.”