City Picks New Fire Chief

By Robert Haugh

Ruben Torres is Santa Clara’s next Fire Chief. He has more than 33 years of fire service experience.

Chief Torres is currently the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department Fire Chief under a Joint Powers Authority covering the cities of Livermore and Pleasanton.  Prior to his current position, Torres served as the San Jose’s Fire Chief.

Ruben Torres
New Santa Clara Fire Chief Ruben Torres

Chief Torres starts his new job in the Mission City on June 30, 2019. Torres replaces Bill Kelly who is retiring after being Santa Clara Fire Chief since 2012.

“I look forward to working in partnership with the community and building upon the great work that the Santa Clara Fire Department has accomplished over the past several years,” said incoming Fire Chief Torres. “As Fire Chief, I recognize the importance of our organization being well-positioned and nimble to address the service delivery demands of a growing city while also continuing to deliver extraordinary service for Santa Clarans.”

“Chief Torres’ strong progressive leadership abilities, collaborative style and his vast fire experience in culturally diverse communities will be huge assets for the City, the Fire Department and our community,” said City Manager Deanna Santana.

“We conducted robust employee engagement and community outreach, getting input from residents as well as staff about selecting a fire chief who’s committed to providing service without limits. I met with more than 100 fire department staff and their input guided our recruitment efforts at every step of the way. It was a very competitive process with strong candidates, and I am confident that Chief Torres will lead the Fire Department with honor and integrity.”   


  1. I would have felt better if they had been grooming one of our own for the job. They had 7 years. Is this a failure of leadership? Our new city mgr was a good addition but as I saw it there was no one to groom, I hope the new chief is also a good add.

    • City Manager failed to appoint a perfect internal candidate. Something she has done since arriving in Santa Clara.

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