CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES MAYOR FAULCONER’S APPOINTMENT OF FORMER SDFD ASSISTANT CHIEF TO LEAD DEPARTMENT INTO THE FUTURE
San Diego – The San Diego City Council today voted unanimously to confirm Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer’s appointment of Colin Stowell as the next chief of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD).
Earlier this month, Mayor Faulconer tapped Stowell for the job following a three-month national search. Stowell began his firefighting career at SDFD in 1988 and steadily rose through the ranks to Assistant Chief before leaving in 2016 to lead Heartland Fire & Rescue. Stowell’s first day as SDFD Chief will be Aug. 13.
“Public safety is the City’s top priority and that’s why we’re excited to welcome back to San Diego an exceptional leader who spent nearly three decades protecting our neighborhoods and our residents,” Mayor Faulconer said. “Chief Stowell has the experience needed to hit the ground running on the first day and build on the momentum we’ve made over the past few years with major investments to improve public safety across the city. I want to thank the City Councilmembers for recognizing that and giving Chief Stowell their unanimous support.”
Stowell was strongly recommended by both the community and professional interview panels because of his wide range of firefighting experience. He will lead a department that includes more than 1,200 firefighters, lifeguards and support staff.
“I’m truly humbled and honored to be returning to the department I first started my career with over 30 years ago, and to receive this confirmation of trust by our city’s elected officials to lead this great organization and its dedicated members,” Stowell said. “I want to thank Mayor Faulconer, Chief Operating Officer Kris Michell, and the entire City Council for their overwhelming vote of confidence in my appointment as Fire-Rescue Chief, as well as their continuous support and advocacy for providing the highest level of fire protection and lifeguard services that our citizens and visitors deserve."
Chief Stowell will take over the department following recent significant investments made by Mayor Faulconer and the City Council, including new firefighting helicopters and the construction or renovation of nine fire stations over the last three years.
As San Diego’s Assistant Fire Chief, Chief Stowell oversaw the Emergency Operations division, which includes 48 fire stations, lifeguard services, the training division, emergency medical services, and special operations comprising hazardous materials, air operations, the bomb squad, and fire investigations. He led more than 845 sworn personnel and 240 full-time or seasonal lifeguards.
“I am proud to support Chief Colin Stowell’s confirmation as San Diego Fire-Rescue Department’s next Chief,” said City Councilmember Chris Cate. “Chief Stowell has an impressive track record of leading fire-rescue operations here in the City and throughout the region, and I look forward to working closely with him in my role as Chair of the Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods. I also want to thank Interim Chief Kevin Ester for his service to the Department during this transition.”
Chief Stowell previously held leadership roles in the SDFD’s operations and emergency medical services divisions. As a Captain, he served as the department’s Wellness Officer and developed the initial concept and procedures for SDFD’s regional Wellness Program.As a Deputy Chief and Assistant Fire Chief, he served on the San Diego All Hazards Incident Management team as Incident Commander and Operations Section Chief.
Chief Stowell spent the past couple years as chief of Heartland Fire & Rescue, which serves the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove.
Chief Stowell earned his bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University, holds an associate degree in fire science from Miramar College and completed the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy. He is a native San Diegan who lives in San Diego with his wife and two teenage children.