Keeping up with LAFD Chief Kristin Crowley

It took weeks of emails and running down schedules to finally coordinate some quality time with Los Angeles' busy Fire Chief, Kristin Crowley. 

But finally the day had arrived. 

It was the first Tuesday in June and I set the alarm on my phone to 4 a.m. to get up. We had agreed to meet early.

FOX 11 met Crowley in downtown LA very early in the morning. 

She was dressed in workout clothes, before the formal part of her day began. 

Chief Crowley greeted us warmly and then immediately went to work. 

In a tiny space converted into a gym, Crowley was showing us her workout regime.
She never missed a beat, as she lifted weights, ran the treadmill and held an impressive plank on a medicine ball. 

But it suffices to say, this is a woman with a strong core and the ability to balance life.

In 2022, she became LA’s first female and LGBTQ fire chief, with her wife and three daughters by her side as she was sworn in. 

RELATED: Kristin Crowley sworn in as LAFD's first openly-gay, female chief

She shattered the glass ceiling the old-fashioned way - by working her way up the ladder through hard work and experience. 

Her LAFD resume includes firefighter, paramedic and battalion chief, to name a few. 

I asked her if she felt nervous when then-mayor Eric Garcetti nominated her as fire chief. 

She answered this way. "I looked on it as a tremendous opportunity. The time was right. Circumstances were right. "

By now, Chief Crowley was hitting her full stride during her workout, continuing a fitness regime that goes all the way back to her college days at St. Mary’s College. In those days, Kristin Crowley thought she might become a doctor. But here she is now, running a department that meets the needs of almost 4 million people in the country’s second-largest city. 

And among all those people, she’s still a highly visible role model. It’s a responsibility she doesn’t take lightly. 

After the workout, Crowley quickly changed into her LAFD uniform and led a virtual staff meeting in her office, with sweeping views of the city of Los Angeles. 

She gave us an office tour, filled with photos of her family, and talked about the "shared sacrifice of serving your community."

Crowley has an empathetic way about her and speaks genuinely about the responsibility of firefighters and the inherent risks of the job. 

She believes proper training and modern technology can do a lot to offset the danger. 

But when I asked her how often she thought about the safety of the men and women in her command, she looked me straight in the eye and spoke deliberately.

"Every minute of every day."

To give you a sense of how dizzyingly busy she can be - during the same week we interviewed her, the energetic Crowley would fly to Washington D.C. for a Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council meeting, and then fly back the very same day to be home in Los Angeles. 

That Sunday, she was one of the grand marshals of the 2024 LA Pride Parade, where she beamed atop a fire truck to throngs of admirers. 

The Pride Parade is a huge celebration of gay pride in the city, and to be selected a grand marshal, obviously an enormous honor. 

While many are quick to point out the path she blazed as a woman and lesbian, and who could dispute that accomplishment?

I will also remember her as the fire chief who stopped and patiently asked cadets and their families about their desire to seek careers in the fire service, as we waited for the meeting to start. 

There were fist pumps and selfies, and some good-natured joking. The whole exchange felt very genuine to me, and she seemed to revel in it.

We were just a stone’s throw from a hallway where the LA City Fire Department tells its history with the photographs of past and present fire chiefs adorning the walls.

Chief Crowley and I walked through this hall of history where every single photograph featured a man. 

We looked up at the final, historic image - it was Crowley in full uniform, her cap in place. 

She said, "I walk through this hallway many, many times. I’m reminded of its rich history. We end with myself here. That’s a humble reminder of what this burden of command really means. I understand what my ultimate responsibilities are as fire chief. That’s to take care of my people."