Danny Alvarez

Santa Monica’s recently hired Fire Chief, Danny Alvarez, is leaving the city to return to his former department in Burbank as their new Chief. 

Alvarez spent 25 years working in Burbank and was their Deputy Fire Chief when he accepted the top job in Santa Monica in 2022.

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve as the Santa Monica Fire Chief and work alongside the dedicated staff of the Santa Monica Fire Department, who serve our community with the utmost professionalism and compassion,” said Chief Danny Alvarez in a statement. “Santa Monica is a beautiful city and a wonderful community. I am incredibly grateful for all the friendships and professional relationships I have developed with members of our community, City staff, and members of the Fire Department,” he said.

City officials said that in his 18 months with the department he helped develop SMFD’s first strategic plan, recertify the organization as Class 1 with the  Insurance Service Organization for outstanding fire protection, establish a diversity, equity and inclusion work group, initiated a NARCAN leave-behind program as part of the City’s continued efforts to reduce deaths associated with opioid overdoses, completed the construction of a new training facility and added new CPR devices to trucks. 

Burbank Fire Department’s Fire Chief, Eric Garcia, formally announced his intention to retire last week. The City of Burbank said his departure marks the culmination of a remarkable 30-year-long tenure within the fire service, during which his leadership was instrumental in elevating the Burbank Fire Department to an internationally recognized standard.

“Chief Garcia’s leadership has been an immense asset to our Burbank community,” acknowledged City Manager Justin Hess. “His unwavering dedication and innovative tactics have been fundamental in re-securing both a Class 1 rating for the Burbank Fire Department and its status as an internationally accredited agency. These achievements designate our department as part of an exceptional elite. We express our heartfelt gratitude for Chief Garcia’s years of relentless service and commendable accomplishments.”

Alvarez will be making about $266,407 in his new role compared to his starting salary of $282,048 when he took the job in Santa Monica. 

“Our Fire Department has accomplished so many incredible things under Chief Alvarez’s leadership,” said City Manager David White. “I will miss working with Chief Alvarez, but I’m happy his career has come full circle and he’s going back home to his Burbank Fire family as their top leader,” he said.

When announcing his hire in 2022, Santa Monica said Alvarez had 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. 

SMFD operates out of five stations and a Public Safety Facility that houses the Department’s Administrative Offices and Fire Prevention Division. The Fire Chief, 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.  

Alvarez’s last day on the job will be August 31.