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Local News

Santa Barbara Fire Chief Ron Prince Retires

Andy DiMizio will serve as interim chief until a permanent replacement is hired

After 35 years of public service, Santa Barbara Fire Chief Ron Prince retired from his position on Thursday. Battalion Chief Andy DiMizio will serve as the interim fire chief until a permanent appointment is made.

For the past 24 years, Prince has served as a fire chief with the city of Santa Barbara, the city of Santa Cruz and the city of Prescott, Ariz.

As head of the Fire Department, Chief Prince has helped prepare Santa Barbara residents and city staff for the likelihood of a fire or other disaster reaching the South Coast. During his three-year tenure, the community fought three major fires: the Zaca Fire, the Gap Fire and the Tea Fire.

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Santa Barbara Fire Chief Ron Prince retired Thursday after 35 years of service.

Prince oversaw the creation of a new Wildland Fire Benefit Assessment District and the design of the Fire Station Headquarters seismic retrofit and new Emergency Operations Center. The department was also reorganized to ensure sufficient time was spent on firefighter safety and training. The emphasis on training has brought the department to a historically low injury rate.

“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,” City Administrator Jim Armstrong said. “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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Battalion Chief Andy DiMizio will serve as interim fire chief.

“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,” Prince 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.”

He and his wife plan to relocate to Santa Cruz and visit Santa Barbara often.

Effective Friday, DiMizio will become the interim fire chief. DiMizio has worked with the Santa Barbara Fire Department for 29 years, including eight years as a battalion chief. He lives in Goleta with his wife and three children.

An executive recruitment process will be conducted across the nation for the fire chief position.

Nina Johnson is the assistant to the Santa Barbara city administrator.

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