SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - After more than 36 years with the Santa Barbara City Fire Department, Fire Chief Pat McElroy is set to retire in March 2018.
“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, said McElroy. "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.
McElroy moved to the city of Santa Barbara in 1971 to attend UC Santa Barbara and began working with the U.S. Forest Service just five years later. In 1981, he was hired by the Santa Barbara City Fire Department and promoted to captain nine years later. He became a Battalion Chief in 2008, Operations Division Chief in 2011, and Fire Chief in 2013.
“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,” said Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider.
McElroy's career as a firefighter has taken him to work in incidents throughout the country, including Hurricane Katrina, the Northridge Earthquake, and other major historical fires throughout the West Coast and Santa Barbara County.
“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," said McElroy.
McElroy continues to wear different hats in the community. A city of Santa Barbara news release said the following about Fire Chief Pat McElroy:
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.
Fire Chief McElroy has been a staple in Santa Barbara and we all wish him well in his retirement.