Danny Alvarez

Danny Alvarez has been chosen to lead the Santa Monica Fire Department.

Former Fire Chief Bill Walker departed in May of 2021 to the Bedford Fire Department in Texas and Wolfgang Knabe has been Interim Fire Chief since June of last year.

City Manager David White announced the appointment on Thursday.

“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,” said White in a statement. “He also brings a deep love of the fire service and is focused on building meaningful relationships with the community and employees he serves. We are extremely excited to have Chief Alvarez join our Santa Monica team.”

Alvarez was born in Santa Monica and grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He has spent over 24 years with the Burbank Fire Department rising from firefighter to Deputy Fire Chief.

“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,” said Chief Danny Alvarez in a statement. “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.”

In the hiring announcement, officials said Alvarez has been an integral part of Burbank’s leadership team since 2018. In this capacity, he provided oversight of 120 sworn personnel, 16 civilian staff, and directly supervised five battalion chiefs. Alvarez led equity and inclusion initiatives for the department, including through the recruitment and training process. Well versed in budget and personnel management and policy development, Alvarez has experience leading a complex department across ranks of the fire service during his quarter-century in Burbank. Other roles include acting fire chief, battalion chief, fire captain, fire engineer for both hazmat and fire prevention inspection, recruitment academy instructor, urban search and rescue, and, of course, firefighter.

Alvarez has a bachelor’s degree in fire and emergency management from Waldorf University and has engaged in extensive education and training throughout his career, including certifications from the Center for Public Safety Excellence, LAFD Leadership Academy, and has been accepted into the Executive Fire Officer Program through the National Fire Academy.

“I’m proud to have earned certification as an executive Chief Fire Officer through the State of California and Chief Fire Officer designation from the Commission on Professional Credentialing,” said Alvarez in an introduction video. “I’m also a graduate of the Los Angeles Fire Department Leadership Academy.”

Alvarez will start on Feb 28 with an annual salary of $282,048.

The Santa Monica Fire Department currently has two Deputy Chiefs, Training Chief, Fire Marshal, and three Battalion Chiefs are supported by over 136.9 personnel (122 sworn and 14.9 non-sworn). The Department has a total operating budget of $44,514,250 and responds to approximately 19,000 calls annually.

editor@smdp.com