Our Story

Over 60 Years in Fire Protection

Each day we focus on equipping the courageous to save lives and property. This is our mission and passion. Equipping The Courageous (ETC) is not only in our name (FIRE ETC) but, more importantly, it is in our hearts. We believe in a higher calling--a greater purpose. Dave Duea, our founder and leader, is a military veteran with over 60 years of experience in the fire protection industry, including voluntary service in numerous leadership roles in organizations focused on improving fire protection. After growing up on a farm in Iowa and developing a strong, American Midwest work ethic, Dave entered the fire protection industry in San Diego immediately after serving our country overseas in the military. In the military, Dave served as an Army Operations Clerk, where he was tasked with sourcing and supplying his unit with the necessary equipment and services to accomplish the mission. When Dave returned to the U.S., he pursued this passion and began equipping the courageous to save lives and property here at home in San Diego. Dave continues to support his country and the fire service and is grateful to have spent his entire career equipping the courageous.

Dave has assembled a team that shares his belief that the courageous individuals who put their life on the line for others deserve the best equipment, services and support to accomplish their mission. The FIRE ETC. team is made up of veterans, including retired Navy Special Warfare team members (i.e., divers, Seabees, explosive ordinance disposal specialists), spouses of active-duty military personnel, retired fire professionals, spouses of retired fire service professionals, and many other service-minded professionals. The FIRE ETC. team considers it an honor to source and equip firefighters, community first responders and our military with the very best. In pursuit of our mission, we work hard, serve customers, do the right thing, solve problems and continue to learn. We are humble team players that are grateful to serve the fire service and military community and be part of a rewarding, second-generation family business. FIRE ETC. takes care of its team members and the FIRE ETC. team takes care of FIRE ETC.’s customers.

FIRE ETC. is Southern California’s complete source for new and used fire and safety equipment and related services. We sell, rent and service new and used fire and safety equipment. Whether that means servicing an air compressor or breathing apparatus, sourcing the latest thermal imaging camera or hazardous chemical detection unit, outfitting aspiring firefighters in rental turnouts, fitting professionals in the latest station boots and personalized uniforms, offering cleaning and educational services around the latest NFPA 1851 standards, or certifying and deploying alternative fire suppression systems on ships in our local shipyards, we stive to help in any way we can. We believe in long-term relationships and we provide ongoing maintenance and service contracts for many of the products we sell.
FIRE ETC. Mission
  • Equip The Courageous (“ETC”) to Save Lives and Property.
FIRE ETC. Vision
  • A Safer America, due in part to the beloved FIRE ETC. team successfully executing its mission.
FIRE ETC. Values
  • Work Hard.
    • Everyday work hard to make yourself and the company better.
    • “If it were easy, it would be someone else’s job.”
  • Serve Customers.
    • We listen to the customer and find solutions to their needs.
    • “Without customers, there would be no company.”
  • Solve Problems.
    • Spotting an issue is the easy part. We solve problems.
    • “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
  • Do the Right Thing.
    • As accountable professionals, we can be trusted to do the right thing.
    • “No virtue is more universally accepted as a test of good character than trustworthiness.”
  • Continue to Learn.
    • We love to learn and grow. We learn from our mistakes—and ideally they’re not catastrophic.
    • “Every kick in the butt is a boost.”
  • Be a Humble, Team Player.
    • There is no limit to what a person can do or where they can go if they don’t mind who gets the credit.
    • “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6
  • Be a Grateful Family Member.
    • Serving the courageous is a honor and we are grateful to part of the first responder, defense and fire service family/community.
    • As a second-generation family-owned business, we care for one another and share the load and the profits.
    • “It’s a big job, but many hands make light work.”

FIRE ETC. Leadership

Dave Duea

Founder, President, Board Member, Co-Owner

Dave grew up on a farm in Roland, Iowa. Dave, with his brother Sanford, would do “chore” (feeding the animals) every day, including before and after school. Dave was a bright, hard-working young man that asked lots of questions and was always ready to take on the next task. In his early years, Dave was active in 4-H and won many ribbons and titles showing livestock, including several grand champion titles at the Iowa State Fair.

Dave grew up next to and eventually married his high school sweetheart, Mary Sampson, who he has been married to for over sixty years. In addition to his early love for Mary, Dave had an early love for business. As a young man, Dave enjoyed interacting with the hog buyers that would visit the farm and Iowa State Fair. Dave eventually attended Drake University, where he earned a degree in business.

Soon after Dave graduated from Drake, Dave was drafted into the U.S. Army. Dave spent a year in Washington, DC as an Army Instructor and then a year in Korat, Thailand, where he served as an Army Operations Clerk. As an Army Operations Clerk, Dave was tasked with sourcing and supplying his unit with the necessary equipment and services to accomplish the mission. In the early days in the role, the Sargent Major provided Dave with a significant, urgent task with little instruction, saying: “Duea, trade this Caterpillar tractor and hire me 20 carpenters and 20 plumbers.” When Dave asked for a bit of guidance, the Sargent Major responded, “Duea, why are you still here? Did you not hear what I needed?” Dave embraced the challenge, executed numerous deals and soon discovered his passion and skills in deal making and equipping the courageous to accomplish a mission.

After completing his service in the Army, Dave returned to the U.S. and pursued his passion and began equipping the courageous to save lives and property here in San Diego. In 1964, Dave boldly accepted a job with San Diego Fire Equipment, Inc. (“SDFE”), a small fire equipment business owned by his aunt and uncle. Dave’s aunt and uncle always thought Dave was incredibly bright and hard-working when they visited him as a boy on the farm in Iowa. They also appreciated his curiosity and desire to learn, evidenced by the many questions he asked. In 1965, Dave became General Manager of SDFE. In 1969, Dave became a part owner in SDFE.

Dave grew SDFE, located on 11th Avenue in San Diego, and in 1973 capitalized on an opportunity to expand the business by buying a property a block down the street at 266 11th Avenue in San Diego and building the new SDFE headquarters. At SDFE, Dave introduced many new products to the market, including home smoke alarms, life ladders and new brands of extinguishers and breathing apparatus. In 1974, Dave became President of SDFE.

On May 1, 1979, seeing an opportunity to acquire a competitor in an adjacent space (primarily cylinder hydrotesting), Dave founded and incorporated AFECO, Inc., a California corporation (“AFECO”). The acronym stands for “a fire equipment company” and AFECO initially acquired and did business as Atlas Fire Equipment Company, managed by David’s wife, Mary Duea.

In 1982, Dave and Mary acquired 100% of SDFE from Dave’s Aunt and Uncle. Dave continued to grow the business while networking and serving in leadership roles in numerous industry and charitable organizations (i.e., NFPA, National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors--NAFED, Burn Institute, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, San Diego Chapter of the Propeller Club, San Diego Firehouse Museum, La Jolla Sunrise Rotary, Kiwanis, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church).

As the business grew, Dave felt it wise to bring in a private equity firm that could help fund the company’s growth. In 1988, Dave sold 90% of SDFE to a private equity firm (but personally retained ownership of the underlying real estate). Unfortunately, the firm was more interested in inventory turns and efficiencies than in serving customers and equipping the courageous. In 1990, Dave sold his remaining 10% stake in SDFE in exchange for used fire equipment, left SDFE and shifted his focus to AFECO where he began doing business under the name FIRE ETC. FIRE ETC. initially focused on used fire equipment.

In 1993, the private equity-led SDFE went out of business and FIRE ETC. moved back into the building previously occupied by SDFE at 266 11th Avenue and Dave and FIRE ETC. began to sell both new and used fire equipment. Throughout the years, Dave has built great relationships with fire equipment distributors in Mexico. For decades, Dave has been helping his Mexican colleagues equip the courageous.

In 2000, the City of San Diego exercised eminent domain over the 266 11th Avenue property to build the San Diego Padres ballpark: PETCO Park. Dave moved FIRE ETC. to 2190 Main Street, San Diego (the company’s current location) in the culturally-rich Barrio Logan neighborhood. As FIRE ETC. expanded, Dave invested in more properties in Barrio Logan and eventually joined the Barrio Logan Planning Commission.

In 2016, Dave and one of FIRE ETC.’s team members, Scott Estrada, a retired CAL FIRE Captain, created SoCal PPE to implement and educate firefighters about NFPA 1851 regarding the proper cleaning and care for firefighting turnouts. Scott, a survivor of esophageal cancer, inspired Dave to start and fund the business to help protect firefighters from cancer causing carcinogens. This was another means of equipping the courageous.

In 2019, Dave and his son, Brad Duea, created Redline Rentals as part of SoCal PPE, and began renting firefighting turnouts to fire academies, fire academy students, fire departments (especially probationary and seasonal firefighters) and private fire brigades. Yet, another means of equipping the courageous to save lives and property.

In December of 2020, Dave asked his son, Brad Duea, to join the board of AFECO and in December of 2021 to acquire an equity interest in AFECO. FIRE ETC. formally became a second-generation family business. Since this time, both of Brad’s boys have interned with FIRE ETC., making it at times a third-generation family business.

Dave has assembled a team at FIRE ETC. that shares his belief that the courageous individuals who put their life on the line for others deserve the best equipment, services and support to accomplish their mission. In pursuit of the FIRE ETC. mission, Dave and the team work hard, serve customers, do the right thing, solve problems and continue to learn. Dave and the team are humble team players that are grateful to serve the fire service and military community and be part of a rewarding, second-generation family business.

Dave and the team continue to look for ways to serve their customers and equip the courageous to save lives and property. In April of 2023, FIRE ETC. acquired Tinosa, Inc. Tinosa is a San Diego based technical services company supporting the U.S. Department of Defense as well as civilian organizations in all matters relevant to life support and high-pressure gas distribution systems.

Dave continues to support his country and the fire service and is grateful to have spent his entire career equipping the courageous to save lives and property. Dave has been described as having the deepest product knowledge of anyone in the fire protection industry. People say, “If you need something in fire protection, Dave can find it!” Please visit or call Dave so he and the FIRE ETC. team can help you with any of your fire and safety needs.

Brad Duea

Executive Vice President, Board Member, Co-Owner

Born in San Diego, Brad’s business training began when he was a young boy as he spent many Saturdays and summers with his entrepreneurial parents working in the family’s fire equipment business. As his parents engrained their American Midwestern hard-work ethic, Brad noticed they turned to lawyers when key issues arose in the business and relied on accountants and investment bankers to demystify financials and the valuation of businesses they sold. It was at this point Brad knew he wanted to learn more about the law, business and finance. Also, from his first sale of a smoke detector, Brad knew he had sales and win/win deal making in his blood.

In the process of acquiring a B.A. from University of California at Santa Barbara, a M.B.A. from the University of Southern California, and a J.D. from the University of San Diego, Brad complemented his formal education with practical experience. He engaged in internships and other positions ranging from tax consulting in London, England to marketing an industrial park in the maquiladoras of Mexicali, Mexico, spotting the trend of internationalization and globalization in the process.

Upon graduating from law school, Brad joined the innovative Century City office of O’Melveny & Myers LLP, the oldest and largest law firm in Los Angeles. As a Corporate Associate in a white-shoe firm in the office that was the center of the firm’s entertainment practice, Brad leveraged his hard-work ethic and honed his negotiation and deal making skills working with companies of all sizes in a wide-range of industries, including family and closely held businesses. An exemplary deal occurred in his second year, when senior partners tapped Brad to assist in the representation of the O’Malley family with regard to the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to Fox, a transaction the Los Angeles Business Journal subsequently named “Deal of the Year.” Brad enjoyed working with his clients, particularly on high-impact transactions, and his next two jobs would actually come from clients of O’Melveny.

In 2000, Brad felt the calling to move deeper into business and the technology space and Brad left O’Melveny. Brad has since spent the majority of his career leading the digital transformation of various industries and companies: music with Napster (as President); communications with T-Mobile (as SVP of Marketing); consumer electronics with SONOS (as Managing Director/General Manager of the Americas-Pacific) and DTS (as a member of the board of directors); and restaurants with Restaurant Revolution Technologies (as CEO).

Brad has led both domestic and multi-national companies, including public, privately held and family-owned businesses. He has been responsible for multi-billion-dollar P&Ls, multi-hundred-million-dollar P&Ls and has driven start-ups from under a million dollars in annual revenue to multi-million dollars in annual recurring revenues. Brad has served on private and non-profit boards as well as public company boards, including membership on both compensation and audit committees. Brad is bright, highly educated, enthusiastic leader with a proven ability to deliver strategic growth and a passion for delighting customers and creating shareholder and stakeholder value.

In May of 2022, as CEO of Restaurant Revolution Technologies (“Revolution”), a software as a service (SaaS) company that powers online ordering for chain restaurants, Brad led the merger of Revolution with and into BlueCart, Inc., a leading eCommerce platform for the hospitality industry. After successfully integrating Revolution into BlueCart, Brad decided to apply his 21 years of formal education and over 25 years of professional experience to the family fire protection business—where he began his business training. Brad currently serves as Executive Vice President and a Member of the Board of Directors for AFECO, Inc. (DBA: FIRE ETC.). As a Co-Owner of and leader in the second-generation family business, Brad is building on his dad’s legacy and working with the FIRE ETC. team in pursuit of its mission of equipping the courageous to save lives and property.

Brad has a passion for serving first responders and in December, 2023 became the President and CEO of RollKall. RollKall connects communities with everyday heroes with a vision of renewing respect for law and order and the heroes who deliver it. RollKall powers the leading off duty job platform for leading law enforcement agencies, officers and entities that need their services.

Brad is also Co-Founder and serves as Managing Member of Duea Real Estate and Asset Management, LLC, a privately held real estate investment firm. Brad also currently serves as an independent director on the board of The Whitaker Company, a fourth-generation family-owned business. The Whitaker Company is a chemical manufacturer and distributor that handles a variety of services from railcar delivery of hydrocarbons to specialty blends and formulations packaged into 22 oz. bottles.

As a believer in life-long education, Brad attends and speaks at conferences across the globe and is an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization for over 18 years. Brad is a licensed attorney and current member of The State Bar of California. As a Significant Sig, Brad remains involved in the Sigma Chi Fraternity and Sigma Chi Foundation. Brad has been married to his Texan wife for over 26 years and has two sons, both of whom attended or are attending Texas Christian University.

Rick Breeding

Vice President of Operations

Washington born; Virginia raised. Rick comes from a family background of hard-working stock. Rick believes in strong work ethics and commitment to get the job done and done right. Rick believes the right way is often the hardest way forward and should not be short cut, and it will not be!

After attending high school in Virginia, Rick joined the U.S. Navy (Feb 2000) as a Navy Seabee doing specialized and contingent construction for all U.S. Armed Forces. During Rick’s 22 years of active-duty Naval service, he served in diverse and unique specialized duties with the Department of State in Beijing, China and then with Naval Special Warfare with the Navy SEALs, Navy Swift Water Combat Crewman (SWCC), and Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Forces (EOD) worldwide. Rick worked in over 40 countries with the Department of State, Naval Special Warfare, and Naval Construction Forces.

As part of Rick’s transition from the Navy, Rick was admitted to and graduated from The Honor Foundation San Diego Campus, Group 38. The Honor Foundation (THF) is a career transition program for U.S. Special Operations Forces that effectively translates their elite military service to the private sector and helps create the next generation of corporate and community leaders. Rick is an active alum with THF.

Following his service to his country, Rick worked on worldwide disaster relief efforts at Amazon. Rick then joined Booz Allen Hamilton working on Naval Warfare programs. During this time, through THF, FIRE ETC. connected with Rick to explore joining FIRE ETC. on its mission of equipping the courageous to save lives and properties. FIRE ETC. and Rick both saw an excellent match in skills, values and passion for the mission. In November, 2022, Rick joined FIRE ETC. as Vice President of Operations where he oversees operations of FIRE ETC., SoCal PPE, Redline Rentals and Tinosa, LLC. In this role, Rick services private, local, state and federal firefighting organizations as well the U.S. Department of Defense and the defense industry. Rick is dedicated to serving those in the red, green, and blue lines of service.

Rick is an exceptional leader, communicator, and problem solver in diverse high performing environments, foreign and domestic. Rick thrives in dynamic and challenging situations allowing for his affinity in creative-thinking, dynamic problem solving, teamwork, and passion to help others. Rick’s NorthStar and guiding principle is: encouraging action within ourselves, so that we may achieve greatness together.

Rick holds a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness from Thomas Edison State University; a Master of Arts in Transportation Logistics Management from American Public University; and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. Rick is currently pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration from the Thomas Edison State University. Rick also holds a Graduate Certificate in Project Management and Leadership from Cornell University, is a Certified Project/Program Director from the Project Management Institute and a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Rick is active in the community, including Project Coordinator for the Imperial Beach Lions Club, active member of the Imperial Beach Chamber of Commerce, advocate of Veteran Outreach with Team Red White and Blue, a member of the Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association, the San Diego Military Advisory Council, the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and the San Diego Chapter of the Propeller Club.

Rick lives with his partner Eva in Julian, California and has five children.

Rick is an avid outdoorsman and adventurist and enjoys riding his Harley.