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The City of Santa Barbara appoints new fire chief

Eric Nickel has been appointed the new Santa Barbara City fire chief.

The city appointment comes after an extensive national recruitment process that saw over two dozen applicants.

Nickel will oversee the Santa Barbara City Fire Department’s $28 million budget and 106 employees in eight fire stations.

“I am honored to be selected as the City of Santa Barbara’s next Fire Chief. I am eager to get started after the holidays,” said Nickel. “I look forward to leading the men and women of this great department as we meet the daily needs of our citizens and strategically plan for the uncertainties of the future. I am excited with the opportunities to learn from, engage and collaborate with this vibrant and diverse community.”

Nickel brings 31 years of service and experience to the job. He has served as fire chief for Palo Alto, California, and Standford University. Throughout his career, Nickel has worked for six fire departments in Southern and Northern California.

He is also one of 39 fire chiefs in California fire service history to be designated as a Certified Fire Chief throughout the State of California State Board of Fire Services.

Nickel also holds a Bachelor’s degree from California State University-Long Beach.

“Mr. Nickel stood out as the top candidate in my mind due to his broad breadth of experience, leadership, and personal skill and abilities. I think he will be an outstanding leader for the Department going forward,” said Santa Barbara City Administrator Paul Casey.

Nickel is scheduled to start his tenure as fire chief on January 14, 2019.

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