Courtesy Xochitl Mora,
LAREDO, TX,- Fire & Arson Investigator, Captain Annabelle G. Venegas will be retired on Friday, March 16th from the City of Laredo Fire Department after nearly 37 years of serving the community bravely and honorably.
Annabelle G. Venegas joined the Laredo Fire Department on July 28, 1975, after nearly thirty-seven years of service, she remains the only female in the fire department. She and eight other cadets in the academy brought the number of fire fighters to one hundred and twenty. Presently the fire department has 349 firefighters. Captain Venegas has served the Laredo Fire Department in different capacities throughout the years.
She became a certified fire fighter in February 1976 and was assigned to the Fire Marshall’s Office. While in the Fire Marshall’s Office she was promoted to the rank of assistant driver. She was later sent to Texas A& M Firemen’s Training School to become a certified fire inspector in 1980. The same year she attended the Peace Officer Academy at Laredo Junior College, graduating in December 1980. She was then promoted to Driver in January 1981 and was assigned to drive engine # 7 at Fire Station # 7 on Calton Rd. While at station 7 she was promoted to captain.
She was transferred back to the Fire Marshalls Office because of a pregnancy. There she became supervisor to the Fire Prevention/ Arson Division. This division oversees the International Fire Code enforcement, fire prevention education, report keeping and fire/arson investigator. She was appointed acting Fire Marshall in April 19, 1991 when then Fire Marshall Frank Cardenas retired. During her return to Fire Prevention/ Arson she attended classes and became a certified fire/ arson investigator in late 1987.
She was born in Hebbronville, Texas, graduating form Hebbronville High in 1972 attended Laredo Junior College with the intention of becoming a dietician. She is married to retired Fire Captain Homero Venegas. They have two children Eric and Sondra. Eric Venegas has followed in his parents footsteps and currently serves as a firefighter/ paramedic himself.