Oakland Fire Dpt. Assistant Chief, 42, Dies of Heart Attack

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Sean Laffan, the 42-year old the Oakland Fire Department Assistant Chief, died of a heart attack Monday evening, officials said.

Assistant Chief Laffan collapsed while in the fire department’s administrative office at about 5 p.m. Monday, Oakland Fire officials said. Staff on site began performing life-saving measures. He was taken by ambulance to Summit Medical Center, but suffered cardiac arrest around 10:15pm that night.

His heart function never returned despite resuscitation efforts. His family was met at the hospital by Oakland Fire staff and department leaders to share in grief and consolation.

“Sean Laffan was a dedicated member of the Oakland Fire Department. He began his career in Oakland Fire twenty years ago … and represented our department and the City of Oakland with distinction and enthusiasm for the fire service and our community throughout,” Interim Fire Chief Melinda Drayton said in a statement.

“We are shaken by this immense loss and focused on restoring the emotional health of this department and the Laffan family who are devastated by this tragedy,” stated Drayton.

Laffan has been the interim assistant chief for the department since June of 2020. He is survived by his parents, his wife Sabrina, and his three sons Caeden, Connor, and Cooper. His son, Caeden, is also probationary firefighter in the Oakland Fire Department in the footsteps of his father.


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.