Friday, November 27 , 2015, 10:42 pm | Fair 45º

6 Finalists Make Cut in Search for Santa Barbara Fire Chief

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli |

Interviews for a new Santa Barbara City Fire Department chief were held Friday, with six finalists making the cut.

Chief Andy DiMizio retired Friday after 38 years of service, and interim Fire Chief Pat McElroy is one of the finalists, according to DiMizio.

City Administrator Jim Armstrong, who will make the appointment in mid-January, said two panels conducted Friday’s first round of interviews, with some candidates recommended for follow-up interviews and background checks.

He said panelists included city department heads, representatives from the Fire Association, a city manager and fire chief from another community, members of the fire and police commissions, and members of the community. He said he couldn’t be more specific because of confidentiality concerns.

At this week’s Habitat for Humanity groundbreaking ceremony, DiMizio reflected on his time with the department and its future without him.

He said he’s extremely proud of putting together a strong team, and thinks the department is heading in a good direction.

“I can’t speak highly enough about it,” DiMizio said.

An administrative job is very different from what firefighters are used to — responding to calls and having flexible schedules, not sitting behind a desk — but he said he was glad that some members of his own department put their names forward to succeed him.

On his leaving, DiMizio said his wife ordered six months of relaxing, but he wants to get back into service afterward as a volunteer. He said he also wants to learn to play the banjo.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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