During the same year in which the Vernon Fire Department was established, Joseph Artale was first hired on to serve as the city’s first assistant chief in 1926. Later that year, he was promoted to chief, and served in this role for 13 years. With an extensive history in the fire service, dating all the way back to 1904, Joseph had served as fire chief for the Oklahoma City and San Bernardino Fire Departments. On June 15, 1939, Chief Artale was killed in an automobile accident while responding to an alarm from his home. He was 58 years old. To this day, no other Vernon firefighter has died in the line of duty. As one of the founding fathers of the Vernon Fire Department, Chief Artale’s legacy continues to live on in the spirit and courage of the men and women who proudly serve today.
- June 16, 1939
On the Memorial
Located in Sacramento, the California Firefighters Memorial immortalizes the names of those lost in the line of duty. Learn more »