James Edward Dixon III, 47, an African American battalion chief who worked to erase discrimination in the Los Angeles County Fire Department. A native of Los Angeles, Dixon was educated at LaVerne College and served in the U.S. Army Reserve. He worked for the Los Angeles Police Department and then spent nearly 19 years as a county firefighter. He was one of only 10 African Americans among the department's 85 chiefs. Dixon was active in the Black Military Officers Assn., the Stentorians, the Los Angeles County Black Firefighters Assn. of Chief Officers and the International Assn. of Black Professional Firefighters. Through these groups and individually, he supported litigation by individuals and spoke out against bias against minorities and women in promotion practices and other issues. On Oct. 16 in Los Angeles of a heart attack.