Eduardo Martínez Barajas promotes the modernization of the Fire Department in Tijuana

The man known mainly for his passion for baseball, has made it a priority to maintain the welfare and motivate the important institution that is the fire department in Tijuana.

After his retirement from the Fire Department, Eduardo Martínez Barajas, who was commander of the institution some time ago, continues motivating the Department and promoting its modernization, because since he was young, the professional showed his commitment to the community, together with his passion for baseball.

His beginnings

A native of Tijuana, Eduardo Martínez Barajas was born on March 21, 1937 in a humble home in the Independencia neighborhood. He was the second son of five. His father was the former deputy commander of the Municipal Police, Pedro Martínez Gallegos. In his family he was instilled with values, above all discipline, responsibility, as well as the desire to work. Due to lack of opportunities, he was only able to attend elementary school.

Passionate about baseball, he always wanted to be a professional baseball player in the Major Leagues, but his parents never allowed him to do so, because playing baseball involved a lot of traveling and was considered dangerous. He decided to play at the local and regional level after forming a team in the Tijuana Fire Department, thus joining the ranks as a volunteer of the corporation in 1965.

That same year, Commander Martínez Barajas married a preschool teacher, Ramona Elvira Luevanos Hernández, with whom he had six children: Marisela, Leticia, Sonia, Eduardo, Everardo and Edgardo, the last three followed in his footsteps and have dedicated themselves to becoming firefighters; they currently serve as captains at the Playas de Tijuana station, Cortés Station number 7 and the last one, as shift chief at the Central Fire Station.

In those years he worked in the mornings as a school transportation driver, in the afternoons he did his volunteer service in the Tijuana Fire Department; he also practiced baseball in the corporation's team, which was managed by Mario Alcalá, who recommended him in 1969 to play with the Tijuana team of the Bureaucrats Union, with the purpose of supporting him during a championship that took place at a regional level in the city of Ensenada, obtaining his first victory in that league.

After four years as a volunteer in the corporation and continuing in the sports team, his colleagues nicknamed him 'El Gordo' Martínez. Without expecting it, that same year, the union secretary of that time, Manuel Trasviña, gave him a base position, from there he began his career as a firefighter in the position of engine driver. He drove and was accompanied by an officer and three firefighters when there was an emergency.

"I had to train well. That was fast, since I know how to drive very cautiously, with good reflexes, because you carry the responsibility of four more lives and when driving in an emergency you are always going fast and dodging drivers. The most difficult thing was to go out in the early morning, because, although I thought I was alone on the avenues, many drivers who were out on a spree would get in the way, and that was the most dangerous part of my job as a machine driver", he said.

Passion for his work.

Although he has been retired from the corporation for 21 years and has been serving the citizens with passion and courage for 35 years, Commander Eduardo Martínez Barajas' eyes still light up and he radiates passion and energy when he talks about his time in the Fire Department. At that time he worked for Station number 1, located on Calle Ocho (Constitución Avenue) in the first part of the city, where he went through several stages and stories to protect the physical integrity of the population.

In 1980, Martínez Barajas was appointed commander by the municipal president of that time, Roberto Andrade Salazar. After 11 years working in the corporation, the general secretary of the Bureaucrats Union, Roberto Gamboa, called him to tell him the news, and he felt his legs buckle with nerves, as he did not know that the change was going to happen so fast.

His time as Fire Department Commander was not in vain, since upon observing the deficiencies of the institution, from the lack of protective equipment, to infrastructure to attend to the community due to the rapid urban growth, he managed before the Mayor of Tijuana, Roberto Andrade, the creation and conformation of the first Pro Fire Department Board, which included recognized personalities of the private initiative, such as Mariano Escobedo Lavín, Alfonso Bustamante Labastida, among others, who responded with the purchase of two new engines from 1982.

Experience and Satisfaction.

At 84 years of age, Commander Eduardo Martínez is well respected and loved by the entire corporation. After his retirement 21 years ago, he had not returned to his place of work. Moved and nostalgic, he greeted the different generations that have passed under his command with great pride, those who today work with passion and courage to protect the population.

Martínez Barajas remembers when he was present at that fire in November 1977, in which the first part of the city, exactly on Second Street and Niños Héroes, was filled with smoke due to the fire at Dorian's store, at that time an economic catastrophe for the city. The fire spread to more than seven stores that were located around the area, leaving hundreds of families without jobs.

"We arrived at the point of the fire, which was raging. I parked the engine near the fire hydrant, but when I opened the doors of that big store it thundered very badly. I remember that the Azteca furniture store and several clothing stores burned down. At that time we were already rehearsing the acrobatics to participate in the November 20th parade, when a few days before the event took place, which lasted a little more than 15 hours. We had to request the presence of the United States Fire Department to control the fire," he said.

He was also present at the fire at the Hipódromo, which started with the roll-over of a car in which three Americans were involved in an accident and lost their lives. When the commander arrived, he had the task of rescuing the bodies among the twisted pieces of iron.

The remarkable commander watches over the safety of his family on a daily basis, as his three children and two grandchildren are currently working in the corporation. When they leave for work, he feels fear and uncertainty because he does not know if they will return home safe and sound.

In the midst of his constant struggle, Martínez Barajas feels satisfied with what he has achieved, since he has always been surrounded by excellent members such as Narciso Laguna and Deputy Chief Carlos Carreño, who have provided unconditional support to achieve his objectives. The commander calls on the authorities and society in general to continue supporting the corporation to continue growing and protecting lives.

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