Santa Barbara City Fire Chief Announces Retirement
Source: Santa Barbara City Fire Department
Santa Barbara City Fire Chief Pat McElroy has announced that he will retire in March 2018 after over 36 years with the Fire Department.
“It has been the great privilege of my life to work with the firefighters and staff of the City Fire Department for the people of Santa Barbara. This is my family’s hometown and the personal and professional relationships we have made over these past four decades have given us a deep sense of belonging to Santa Barbara” said McElroy.
Mayor Helene Schneider said that “Chief McElroy is the quintessential firefighter. In my 14 years at City Hall, I've worked with him as President of the City's Firefighters Association, to Battalion Chief to heading the Department. Pat is a true leader with a keen mind and a compassionate heart, and I'm honored to call him a friend. I wish him the best in his retirement.”
McElroy moved to Santa Barbara to attend UCSB in 1971 and began doing seasonal work with the United States Forest Service in 1976. His first major fire was the Sycamore Canyon Fire in 1977. He was hired by the Santa Barbara City Fire Department in 1981 as a Firefighter. He was promoted to Captain in 1990 and to Battalion Chief in 2008 and to Operations Division Chief in 2011. He has served as Fire Chief since 2013.
McElroy also serves as a Liaison Officer for a Type 1 Federal Incident Management Team. He has responded to incidents throughout the country, including Hurricane Katrina, the Northridge Earthquake, and major fires throughout the West. He also was part of the Unified Command for the Tea and Jesusita Fires. He recounts among his major local fires: the Paint, Whittier, La Brea and the Santa Barbara Bank and Trust Fire, and three major fires on Stearns Wharf.
According to City Administrator Paul Casey, "Pat contributed so much to the City of Santa Barbara, and the Fire Department in particular, over his 37 years. His vision, intelligence, and collaborative approach has served the City very well. I will miss working with him on a daily basis as Fire Chief.”
McElroy was honored as Firefighter of the Year in 1987 and 1996 by the Santa Barbara City Firefighters Association. He was recognized by the Santa Barbara Independent as a Local Hero for his work on reforming the 9-1-1 system in California. He served as the Chair of Santa Barbara Firefighters for Better Government and as a Board member and President of the Santa Barbara Firefighters Association. He currently serves as President of the Santa Barbara County Fire Chiefs Association. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the California Fire Chiefs Association and the Western Fire Chiefs. He also serves as a Department Liaison to the Santa Barbara Firefighters Alliance. He is a newly appointed Board member for Doctors without Walls, Santa Barbara Street Medicine.
“I have loved this career and the people I have been able to work with through the highs and lows that accompany a career in public safety. I truly believe that the firefighting community in Santa Barbara County is one of the best in the country. But the time for me to step away has arrived. I am confident that the Fire Department is in excellent hands with an experienced, talented staff at all levels.”
Pat McElroy makes his home in Santa Barbara with his wife Bonnie Kerwin, a longtime Early Childhood Educator. They are the proud parents of three children Darcy, Brendan and Duffy.