Sacramento fire Chief Walt White announces retirement

Walt White
Walt White

Sacramento Fire Department Chief Walt White is hanging up his boots in mid-March, he announced in a news release.

White began serving with the American River Fire District in 1987 and earned degrees in fire management from American River College and Sacramento State University shortly thereafter. He worked his way through the ranks and remained on board after a merger with the Sacramento County Fire Protection District created the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District in 2000.

White served as a captain, battalion chief, director of training, health and safety, and assistant chief of Metro Fire before becoming the city’s 21st fire chief in July 2014. He also earned a master’s degree in executive fire leadership from Grand Canyon University and completed leadership programs at Harvard University and the Naval Postgraduate School prior to being named chief.

“It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve as fire chief for the Sacramento Fire Department, and I am grateful for the hard work, professionalism and dedication of our employees,” White said in the release.

Under White’s leadership, Sacramento Fire Department added more than 100 firefighters to a staff that now boasts approximately 650 members, began a tuition-free fire academy with state grant money, and established an advisory committee on equity and diversity.

The department also saw scandals involving two paramedics on White’s watch, one of whom stole items from Citrus Heights homes after entering under the guise of fire safety and another who is being sued for allegedly groping a 19-year-old strapped to gurney in his ambulance.

No chief has spent more than five years atop Sacramento Fire Department since Gary Costamagna oversaw the department from 1988 to 1999.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel