New Fire Chief Gets Welcome

With one day on the job under his belt, Ventura County Fire Chief James E. Sewell was welcomed and introduced Tuesday by county supervisors.

Sewell, 45, came to Ventura County after 24 years with the San Diego Fire Department. He takes over the county’s 443-member fire district from Chief George Lund, who retired in March.

Lund left the department after supervisors declined his request for funding from Proposition 172. An audit the previous October had criticized the department as being too top heavy and too free with overtime pay.

Sewell was chosen Monday from a pool of 17 candidates. Sewell said Tuesday that he is delighted to be taking over the post.


“I hope you’ll be pleased with what you see in the fire district over the next months and years,” he said. “I’ll make you proud of the fire district.”

Sewell said he and his wife, Katherine, have moved to Ventura.

Board Chairwoman Vicky Howard praised Sewell for his varied background, which includes having worked as director of operations for the San Diego Fire Department. He also has worked as a fire marshal for the Fire Prevention Bureau, battalion chief, investigator, engineer, inspector and firefighter.

“I don’t think there is a job you didn’t hold in San Diego,” Howard said.


Sewell also holds a master of arts degree in management and a bachelor’s degree in business administration.