Fire Chief Phil Garcia to retire

After serving the Valley for seven years, Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority Chief Phil Garcia is stepping aside.

According to Sonoma City Manager Carol Giovanatto, Garcia, who lives in Long Beach and has been shuttling back and forth since he was hired, grew weary of all the travel. “He’s tired of the commute,” said Giovanatto, “and he just became a new grandpa. He wants to spend more time with his family.”

Garcia, who is 64, took administrative leave and his exact departure date is unclear.

SVFRA Operations Division Chief Mark Freeman is serving as interim chief of the agency, which is governed by a Joint Powers Authority. The authority’s board is deciding whether to name Freeman to the position permanently.

Garcia came to the department in 2007 after serving as fire chief in Santa Ana for nearly five years. Prior to that, he worked through the ranks at the Culver City Fire Department for 28 years.

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