The oldest documents identifying government sanctioned African American firefighters were found in New Orleans, Louisiana. A devastating fire in July 1817 led the governing body to organize its people to avoid another conflagration. All draymen and their equipment as well as individual free men of color and slaves were recruited. Historical documents identify George Mondy (deceased 1996) as the first paid African-American member hired for service with the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD) in February of 1965. He retired in 1991 but was rehired to serve as Fire Supply Technician. Mondy opened the doors of professional firefighting to other black firefighters like Chief Warren McDaniels (deceased 2008).
Chief McDaniels entered the New Orleans Fire Department on October 19, 1969 as a firefighter. He served in almost every rank of the department. On March 31, 1993, He became the ninth Superintendent in the history of the New Orleans Fire Department, and the first African American to serve at this post. McDaniels served as the President of The Black Association of New Orleans Fire Fighters, established on May 4, 1978. He retired from service in late 2002. McDaniels’ successor, Retired Chief Charles Parent, was the tenth Superintendent of the New Orleans Fire Department and second African American to serve at this post. Chief Parent is an active member and supporter of B.A.N.O.F.F.
"“Fire service is my life. I was honored to be the first African American in many of the ranks, including the first Black Superintendent of the New Orleans Fire Department in 1991. I had the privilege to serve a Chairman of the Metro Fire Chiefs, to serve on the Board of the International Association of Black Fire Fighters, to hold the position of Chairman of the Board of Volunteers of America, and to teach fire protection at local community colleges. Above all I had the incredible opportunity to work shoulder-to-shoulder with some of with some of our nation’s true heroes. All of these experiences are the lenses for which I look at the role of fire service.” - Warren McDaniels, 2008 -