February 29, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

City Appoints Burbank Deputy Chief to Helm Santa Monica Fire Department

Danny Alvarez to assume post February 28

By Sam Catanzaro

City Manager David White has appointed Burbank’s Deputy Fire Chief Danny Alvarez to helm the Santa Monica Fire Department.

White announced on January 27 that Alvarez would take over the post on February 28, 2022, with an annual salary of $282,048. He will replace Interim Fire Chief Wolfgang Knabe, who has led the SMFD since former Chief Bill Walker left the Department in May 2021. 

“We had an exceptionally strong talent pool for our next Fire Chief, but ultimately, Chief Alvarez rose to the top due to his well-rounded experience, data-driven approach to management, and his commitment and track record to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion,” White said. 

Alvarez has spent the past 25 years with the Burbank Fire Department. He has spent the past five years as the Deputy Fire Chief, providing oversight to 120 sworn personnel and 16 civilian employees.  For comparison, the SMPFD has 122 sworn personnel and around 15 civilian employees. The Burbank Fire Department’s annual budget is $37.6 million, a bit less than the SMFD’s $44.5 million budget. Both the Burbank Fire Department and the SMFD are ISO Class 1-rated. 

“I am deeply honored to be selected as the next fire chief for the City of Santa Monica and to be joining the City’s leadership team,” Alvarez said. “The Santa Monica Fire Department has earned an excellent reputation as a premier fire agency that delivers unparalleled service to the community. I look forward to serving the City of Santa Monica and working alongside the dedicated employees of this great organization to continue the forward progression of the Santa Monica Fire Department.”

Alvarez holds a bachelor’s degree in fire and emergency management from Waldorf University alongside certifications from the Center for Public Safety Excellence, LAFD Leadership Academy. In addition, he has been accepted into the Executive Fire Officer Program through the National Fire Academy.

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