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San Diego Leaders Honor Outgoing Fire Chief

Javier Mainar, October 2009.
Javier Mainar, October 2009.

Retiring San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Javier Mainar was given two standing ovations Tuesday when he was honored by the City Council for his 35 years of service.

"Your steadfastness, your calmness, your perseverance — you were the right person for our time in the city of San Diego," Mayor Kevin Faulconer told the chief, whose retirement becomes official on Thursday.

The mayor noted that Mainar rose through the ranks, beginning as a firefighter and eventually joining the command ranks. In 2007, he was the incident commander for the wildfire that swept through Rancho Bernardo.

"Javier, you played a huge role in making sure the number of homes and lives lost in that tragedy were kept as low as possible despite the awful circumstances that were faced by this city," Faulconer said.

The mayor also praised him for improving the quality of fire services to the city, as well as equality of services by taking steps to reduce response times in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Mainar, the SDFRD chief for six years, thanked the mayor, City Council, his predecessors and firefighters in the agency, and gave a heartfelt tribute to his family.

"I certainly feel incredibly blessed to enjoy such a long career with the city and for the many unique experiences and lasting friendships I made in my time as a firefighter," Mainar said.

"It's been an amazing experience, full of adventure and camaraderie that came with the pride of satisfaction of knowing that I was part of a profession whose mission was simply to help others in their time of need," he said.

He'll be succeeded by Assistant Chief Brian Fennessy.