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Laguna Beach names veteran firefighter as new chief

Laguna Beach names veteran firefighter as new chief
Michael Garcia, a veteran with the Long Beach Fire Department, has been appointed the new fire chief for Laguna Beach. He starts April 30. (Courtesy of city of Laguna Beach)

Michael Garcia, a 32-year fire service veteran, has been appointed Laguna Beach fire chief, city officials said Friday.

Garcia started with the Long Beach Fire Department 28 years ago, holding various command staff positions, such as assistant, deputy and acting chief.

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"I am honored in being selected to lead the Laguna Beach Fire Department and I am humbled in becoming a part of such a great city team," Garcia said in a statement. "I couldn't ask for a better group of caring professionals and I look forward to working with them as we plan for the future while continuing to provide excellent and responsive service to the community."

Garcia begins April 30. He will earn $192,000 a year. Acting Chief Tom Christopher, a division fire chief, will serve until Garcia starts.

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Garcia, who is married with three children, was selected from 37 applicants, officials said. He has a bachelor's degree in vocational education from Cal State Long Beach.

Garcia replaces Chief Jeff LaTendresse, who retired in August after serving in the position since 2012. Kirk Summers served as acting chief until Christopher took the helm.

Twitter: @BradleyZint

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