Fresno's Fire Chief reflects on his time with the department

FRESNO, Calif.

The chief got his last barbeque lunch at Fresno's oldest fire stations, Engine House 3, on Wednesday. It was a send off from a department that embraced his style. Bruegman is proud of having increased the size, the scope and the firefighting force of the department. He also managed to upgrade aging firehouses and build new ones.

Randy Bruegman told us, "Yeah, I came in and helped to fix some of the infrastructure problems but the legacy lies in the people I've been able to hire and promote over the last seven years."

Another such legacy has moved past the planning stages, a modern, regional fire training facility. He leaves a designated site in West Fresno waiting for funding. It will, says Bruegman, be used by fire departments across the valley, "We know if we build this they will come. This thing will get used every day."

What he managed to do in seven years happened he says by being a team player, "One thing you learn is: you don't manage mayor's, they manage you."

And in turn his department grew, expanded to consolidate dispatch with the county and provide fire service to two county islands and increased service inside the city limits, "What remains from the era is the people that we hired. And we were able to attract real quality individuals who will lead this department forward into the future."

Bruegman says he wasn't looking for a new future but the city of Anaheim convinced him to head its Fire Department. This is after all a place where dreams come true , home to Disneyland and yes , one of Anaheim's city fire stations is right on Main Street in the happiest place on earth.

Still Bruegman expects to remain connected to the city of Fresno, "Our roots here went pretty deep here in a short period of time."

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