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Local Hero

Author: Mallorie Kerrigan
December, 2017 Issue

 Fire chief at Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and local hero, Loren Davis, has worked in the fire service more than 20 years. He entered the business after a bet on a basketball game to a friend and volunteer firefighter, which led him to join the Kenwood Volunteer Fire Department. Davis fell in love with his new career, and was eventually hired at Eldridge Fire Department in Glen Ellen. Davis was one of the first responders in October’s Tubbs Fire, where he and his crew from the Mountain Volunteer Fire Department were among the first on scene. 

Originally from Southern California, Davis considers Edwards Air Force Base his hometown. “My father was a test pilot who also flew in World War II and the Korean War,” he says. Davis moved to Sonoma County in 1975 and attended Sonoma State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and minored in biology. He studied Humpback whales while working out of Kewalo Marine Laboratory in Honolulu as well as assisting in training the world’s first-ever talking dolphins before starting his career in firefighting. He currently lives in Santa Rosa with his girlfriend and is a part-time instructor in the fire-technology program at Santa Rosa Junior College and sits on the Fire Services Advisory Council. 


Who are your heroes?


My father. He was a combat pilot, test pilot and Central Intelligence Agency pilot. He was also a kindhearted and compassionate man. Aside from my dad, the historical people I admire are Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower.


What has been your greatest achievement?


My time—nine-plus years—as fire chief of Mountain Volunteer Fire Department, located between Santa Rosa and Calistoga. I’ve been privileged to recruit, train, manage and lead a great group of men and women. We currently have 13 responders who give up their time to attend trainings and are ready to pop out of bed at 2 a.m. to heed the call. During the recent fire storm, we had two of the first fire engines in on the Tubbs Fire. My crew did splendid and saved many people who were asleep and had no idea a fire was bearing down on them. [Visit their website at] 


How often do you read the newspaper?


Every day, though I’m pretty much digital now. I read the front page and international sections and have subscribed to Foreign Affairs magazine for many years. 


If you could spend an hour doing absolutely anything, what would you do?


Fly aerobatics. 


What’s your all-time favorite town or city? 


Las Vegas. I’ve been in-and-out of that city since I was about 5 years old when we were stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in the mid 1950s. Now, I play a lot of poker there, and I wish they would resume direct flights from Santa Rosa. 


What was the name of your first album/CD?


More than likely, it was the first Beatles album, “Introducing… The Beatles.”


What excites you?


Seeing the firefighters I’ve helped train over the years become successful.


Which of the five senses do you treasure most?


Eyesight. Everything I do—firefighting, racing, riding, flying—depends on it. 


Who do you call when you need a hand?


Whoever I know that has the most expertise with the problem at hand. Lately, that’s been my friend, Jeff Rothman, for custom wiring on my Baja race bike. 


What is your best quality?


I’m rational and thoughtful. I don’t get excited easily. In fact, when things seem to be going to hell, I get calm and almost meditative. This is probably due to my years of motorcycle racing as well as being an adherent of Stoicism. 


How do you spend your time outside of work?


Writing, reading, cooking, working on motorcycles, working out and figuring how to conquer the world without anybody noticing.


What’s your biggest fear?


Messing up and causing injury—or worse—to another.


What’s your favorite room in your home?


The living room—with my TV and new recliner. 


What’s the strangest call you’ve ever responded to at the firehouse?  


A cat stuck up a tree. Really. 


What are your favorite summer and winter sports? 


As for spectator sports, it would be basketball and football. For participatory sports, it would be motorcycle racing. 



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