Monday, February 19 , 2018, 11:48 pm | Fair 42º


Santa Barbara Fire Chief Andrew DiMizio Retiring

After 38 years of public service, he says it's time to pursue 'new personal challenges'

After 38 years of public service, Santa Barbara Fire Chief Andrew DiMizio announced that he will retire from his position on Dec. 14.

Andrew DiMizio
Andrew DiMizio

As fire chief, DiMizio oversees a $21 million budget and 109 employees in the areas of fire suppression, prevention, inspection and emergency services. After serving the department in numerous positions, including interim fire chief for several months, he was officially appointed to lead the department in 2009.

“Andy has done an outstanding job managing the Fire Department, from helping the community prepare for a natural disaster to fighting major fires like the Jesusita Fire that threatened the community a few days after he was appointed,” City Administrator Jim Armstrong said.

Under DiMizio’s leadership, the Fire Station 1 remodel was completed. The project included a state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center to coordinate a disaster. Fire administrative offices also finished construction earlier this year, allowing department staff to operate in a seismically safe building.

He worked closely with homeowners associations and the Firefighters Alliance to carry out many programs and projects over the past four years. More recently, he worked with department staff to prepare a five-year plan of goals and objectives for fire response, prevention and emergency preparedness that will help the department continue its work long after his retirement.

After earning his degree from UCSB, DiMizio began his fire career with the U.S. Forest Service. He joined the City of Santa Barbara as a firefighter in 1980 and received promotions to fire engineer in 1985 and fire captain in 1991. As fire captain, he was recognized as Firefighter of the Year in 1991, 1995 and 2000. In 2001, he rose to the position of fire battalion chief, where he was responsible for managing daily operations and emergency response for a platoon of 29 firefighters.

“The Santa Barbara City Fire Department is one of the best in the nation because of its long tradition, great staff and the wonderful community that it serves; and I know that it will continue to be so after my departure,” DiMizio said. “After 38 years in the fire service, the time has come for me to look towards new personal challenges. I have been blessed to have had such a great staff to work with during my tenure.”

DiMizio is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Western Fire Chiefs Association and the Fire Chiefs Association of Santa Barbara County. He is actively involved in his church, neighborhood organizations, and youth and family programs at the YMCA.

He lives in the Santa Barbara area with his wife, Terry, and their children Marcus, Anthony and Jessica.

Armstrong is exploring recruitment options to fill the department head position.

— Nina Johnson is an assistant to the city administrator for the City of Santa Barbara.

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