Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 3:19 pm | Fair 62º


Leonard Champion Named Fire Chief in Santa Maria

Leonard Champion is Santa Maria’s new fire chief. Click to view larger
Leonard Champion is Santa Maria’s new fire chief. (City of Santa Maria photo)

City Manager Rick Haydon has named Leonard Champion as the city’s new fire chief, and removed “interim” from the title, after reassessing the city’s needs and recruitment efforts.

“Since making the announcement of Battalion Chief Champion’s interim appointment, I’ve received a tremendous amount of unsolicited positive feedback about him from the Fire Department, those in the fire service, as well as from those in the community,” Haydon explained. “I’ve had an opportunity to sit down with him and discuss a number of key issues facing the department and have come to this conclusion.

"I’ve known him for over two decades and have a tremendous amount of confidence in his abilities, and so I’m removing the ‘interim’ from his new title. He will be sworn in as the city’s next fire chief at the City Council meeting of Tuesday, Nov. 15.”

Champion will succeed Scott Kenley, who served as interim fire chief for about a year.

Champion began his fire service career with the Santa Maria Fire Department as a reserve firefighter on March 24, 1990. 

Champion holds a bachelor of science degree from the California State University, Long Beach and teaches at Allan Hancock College in the Fire Science Division.

Champion is highly respected among his peers and members of the Santa Maria Fire Department. He is heavily involved in the countywide delivery of emergency medical services, and is a member of the Santa Barbara County EMS Advisory Committee.

The Santa Maria Fire Department has 62 personnel, and operates five stations serving the entire community, plus a sixth fire station dedicated to serving the Santa Maria Public Airport.

In 2015, the department responded to 9,970 calls for service.

Mark van de Kamp is a public information officer for the city of Santa Maria.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.