Tuesday, September 23, 2008

County fire chief to retire


After 37 years as a firefighter and nearly nine years at the helm of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Chief John Scherrei announced yesterday he plans to retire early next year.
Scherrei became chief in Santa Barbara County on Oct. 4, 1999, after 28 years with the Los Angeles Fire Department, where he held ranks from firefighter to assistant chief.

“Chief Scherrei has served with distinction here in Santa Barbara County and throughout his entire career,” said County CEO Mike Brown. “He has advanced the state of fire response and all-hazard emergency response in the county and our residents, businesses and visitors have benefited from his leadership and duty to serve.”
A nationwide recruitment plan is being developed by the county’s Human Resources Department to find Scherrei’s replacement, a statement from the county said.
During Scherrei’s time in this county, the department has added paramedics to its engine companies, created and integrated two brush clearing crews to the department, acquired the county’s first high-rise tower ladder truck to its firefighting equipment inventory and has successfully deployed two firefighting and rescue helicopters.
Scherrei also oversaw the process of merging the Solvang and Orcutt fire departments under the wing of the County Fire Department.
Under Scherrei’s watch, thousands of firefighters battled the 2007 Zaca Fire, which consumed about 240,000 acres of Santa Barbara County backcountry and was the largest fire in the county’s history. Earlier this year, Scherrei’s crews beat the 9,400-acre Gap Fire, which threatened thousands of homes in the Goleta area. However, no homes were destroyed during either of these disasters and no lives were lost.
According to the statement, Scherrei will officially hang up his badge on Jan. 23.
“It has been a true honor for me to serve as Chief of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department,” Scherrei said. “We’ve been through some amazing times and the expectations and demands upon the fire service community have never been greater. The County Fire Department has been family to me. I am proud of every member of this department and their dedication to our profession.
During the recruitment process, County Fire Deputy Chief Tom Franklin will serve as interim chief. Franklin will assume this post in November while Scherrei is on vacation.
Franklin has been with the County Fire Department since 1977 and has been the deputy fire chief since 2005.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Conveyer belt-style double-dipper?

Congrats, SB County.