Raúl Gándara Cartagena

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Raúl Gándara Cartagena
Ponce, Puerto Rico
NationalityPuerto Rican
OccupationPuerto Rico Fire Chief

Raúl Gándara Cartagena[note 1] (1895–1989) was fire chief in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and the first and longest-serving Commonwealth of Puerto Rico fire chief. He served from 1942 to 1972.

Public service[edit]

In 1930, Raúl Gándara Cartagena entered the Ponce Fire Department as Commander. In 1942, the Puerto Rico Legislature created the Servicio de Bomberos de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Fire Service), and the governor of the island at the time, Rexford Guy Towell, selected Raúl Gándara—who at the moment was Captain of the Ponce Fire Corps—to become Puerto Rico's first state fire chief.[1] Gandara was Puerto Rico state chief for 30 years, making him the longest-serving state fire chief ever.[2]

Bomberos de Ponce[edit]

The Ponce municipal fire corps (Spanish: Cuerpo de Bomberos Municipales de Ponce) was founded in 1883.[3] Starting in the 1940s, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico opened and operated a fire corps in Ponce functioning in parallel to the Ponce municipal corps.[4] In 1989 the municipal Cuerpo de Bomberos de Ponce were incorporated into the structure of the state's Cuerpo de Bomberos de Puerto Rico under the concept that Ponce residents would enjoy enhanced services and more modern facilities.[5] By 2011 this promise had either not materialized or fell into disgrace [6] and on 15 May 2012, the city once again re-initiated its own municipal fire corps.[7]

Firefighter's handbook[edit]

In 1951, Gandara wrote "Cuerpo de bomberos: Manual del bombero" (Firefighters Corps: A Firefighter's Handbook), a book on the firemen's service, which became a firemen's manual in several Latin American countries.[8][9]


  • In Lares, Puerto Rico, (Lares Electoral Precinct 48) there is a street named after Gándara.[10]
  • In 1999, the Puerto Rico legislature created the Medalla al Valor Raúl Gándara Cartagena (Raúl Gándara Catagena Valor Medal), that is given to "those firefighters displaying an act of heroism, laying out their lives to protect others."[11][12]
  • Gandara has also been recognized as an outstanding civic leader at Ponce's Park for the Illustrious Ponce Citizens.[13]
  • The building housing the headquarters of Bomberos de Puerto Rico is named in his honor.[14]


  1. ^ "Government of Puerto Rico. Firefighters Service". Archived from the original on 15 December 2005. Retrieved 5 April 2016..
  2. ^ Historia: Bomberos de Puerto Rico Originalmente se conocia como Servicio de Bomberos. Senado de Puerto Rico. Gobierno de Puerto Rico. Proyecto del Senado. 1999. Accessed 17 April 2018.
  3. ^ Tour the Old Ponce Firehouse Museum. NewMedia Holdings, Inc. 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  4. ^ Government of Puerto Rico. Firefighters Service. Archived 2005-12-15 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  5. ^ Tour the Old Ponce Firehouse Museum. NewMedia Holdings, Inc. 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  6. ^ Héroes en el mundo: olvidados aquí. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Year 30. Issue 1454. 12 October 2011 (sic, 2012). Page 4. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  7. ^ Estrena Ponce bomberos municipales. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Year 30. Issue 1485. 16 May 2012. Page 11. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  8. ^ Fundacion Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades. Puerto Rico Encyclopedia. Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  9. ^ Raul Gandara Cartagena. Zonai - Primera Hora. El Nuevo Dia. Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Accessed 24 August 2009.
  10. ^ Manuel Álvarez Rivera. Elecciones en Puerto Rico.
  11. ^ Informe de Ordenes Generales, Ordenes Especiales y Normas Propias Vigentes (Revisado): Cuerpo de Bomberos de Puerto Rico. Section "98-2: Otorgacion de la Medalla Raul Gandara del Cuerpo de Bomberos de Puerto Rico." page 2. Accessed 17 April 2018.
  12. ^ Bomberos inician su semana dando gracias a Dios. 22 July 2015. (Updated 4 March 2015.) Telemundo. Accessed 17 April 2018.
  13. ^ Civism. TravelPonce. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  14. ^ Aviso Publico, De conformidad con la seccion 6.5(7) del Reglamento de Personal para los Empleados de Carrera del Cuerpo de Bomberos, se notifica la siguiente accion efectiva el 21 de noviembre de 2013: Cancelacion Registro de Elegibles para el Rango de Bombero. Gobierno del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico. 21 November 2013. Accessed 17 April 2018.


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See also[edit]