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New Folsom fire chief named following nationwide search

Felipe Rodriguez.
Felipe Rodriguez. City of Folsom

A division chief with the Southern California city of Oceanside’s fire department has been named Folsom’s new fire chief.

Felipe Rodriguez, 44, was appointed to the top post by City Manager Evert Palmer following a national executive search, according to a city news release. His appointment is effective June 1.

Rodriguez has worked for the Oceanside Fire Department nearly five years and currently is division chief of training. He also served as a field battalion chief and fire marshal. Before that, he spent 13 years with the Stockton Fire Department as a fire captain and firefighter paramedic.

He began his professional career 23 years ago, when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He completed basic firefighting training, then served as a hospital corpsman and became a professional firefighter five years later, according to the news release.

As Folsom’s fire chief, Rodriguez will oversee the department’s $17 million budget and 68 employees serving in the city’s four fire stations. Operations include fire suppression, rescue, prevention, public education, hazardous materials response and emergency medical services.

He will receive an annual salary of $192,000, said Christine Brainerd, city spokeswoman

Rodriguez holds a master’s degree in emergency services administration and a bachelor’s degree in occupational studies, both from California State University, Long Beach. He is currently enrolled in the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer program.

As a Navy reservist, Rodriguez was activated following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Knights of Columbus.

Rodriguez is married and has five children.

“It will be an honor for me to lead the men and women of the Folsom Fire Department and to serve the Folsom community,” Rodriguez said in a written statement. “Folsom is where it all began for me 24 years ago when I was a student at Folsom Lake College, back when the classes were held in portable buildings. I look forward to developing long-lasting relationships with Folsom’s residents and business community, the city’s leadership and staff, and the Fire Department’s personnel to provide the best service possible for those we serve.”

Former Folsom fire chief Dan Haverty has served as interim chief since Chief Ron Phillips’ retirement Dec. 30. Phillips had led the department since 2010.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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