Lompoc Fire Capt. Jeff Edman's 31-year career at the department ended with a puff of smoke.
One day before he retired, Edman and a fire company responded to an incident where a person left plastic vacuum cleaner parts on top of a heater. The parts melted and sent smoke throughout the building.
The Dec. 29 incident was minor compared to his first structure fire, or when the Lompoc Valley Chamber Commerce caught fire in 1990. Edman was 20 years old at the time and a new, full-time recruit for the Lompoc Fire Department. Now 51, he recalled how the event changed him. “It was eyes wide open for me kind of thing,” Edman said. “The reality was that I could have gotten hurt really easily.”
Edman’s last day was mostly unceremonious, with the exception of a dispatch send-off due to COVID-19. His colleagues called him a “true legend.”