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Santa Barbara Fire Chief to Retire

A key player in battling the Zaca, Gap and Tea fires, Chief Ron Prince will retire May 1.

Santa Barbara city Fire Chief Ron Prince announced Thursday that he will retire from the department, effective May 1.

Ron Prince
Ron Prince
“It has been a distinct honor to serve as the city of Santa Barbara fire chief and to be affiliated with such an outstanding organization,” he said. “I’m proud of my staff and the excellent programs and services we’ve planned for Santa Barbara residents. I’m looking forward to spending more time with family and friends for now.”

Prince started with the Santa Barbara Fire Department in 2006, after serving 12 years as fire chief for the city of Santa Cruz, and nine years as fire chief for the city of Prescott, Ariz.

In his tenure in Santa Barbara, Prince supervised the operations of his department through the Zaca, Gap and Tea fires. He also led the development of a Wildland Fire Benefit Assessment District that focuses on brush clearing, defensible space programs and safety inspections for residents. He has also worked closely with area homeowners’ associations and the Santa Barbara Firefighters Alliance on many projects and programs.

In the three years that Prince has headed up the department, he improved operations by concentrating on training, which in turn improved service call response times and decreased the injury rates among personnel. He also helped push the design and renovation of the Carrillo Street headquarters to comply with seismic retrofitting standards.

“In a short time, Ron Prince has helped our fire department become more proactive in preventing fires and raised awareness of emergency preparedness in the community,” said City Administrator Jim Armstrong, who is considering recruitment options to find Prince’s replacement.

“With 24 years of experience managing fire departments, he brought valuable insight to our fire department, the city’s executive management team and to our community.”

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