"Done Deal": SD Fire Chief Fennessy Headed For Orange County

Author: Jeff Powers
Created: 07 March, 2018
Updated: 21 November, 2022
2 min read

After nearly three years on the job, multiple sources have confirmed to IVN San Diego that San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy is leaving his post for the same position in Orange County.

The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity and came from within City Hall as well as the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

The Orange County Fire Department Public Information Officer told IVN the deal will likely be finalized pending a background check and stated "the Board will meet to discuss the appointment on March 15th, but beyond that it would be premature for us to comment."


Fennessy made headlines following public battles with the lifeguards and notably the head of the lifeguard union, Sgt. Ed Harris.

The lifeguards have charged that Fennessy and the Fire-Rescue department have overreached and created public safety issues by usurping many of the traditional lifeguard duties.

As reported by IVN last December, the San Diego Lifeguard Association voted to form their own department called the “Marine Safety Department,” and leave the Fire-Rescue Department. Voter turnout was 92% with roughly 77% voting for the new department. The vote authorized the Lifeguard Union to publicly express concerns with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and demand a separation.

That vote came four months after San Diego Lifeguards penned a letter of apology to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the citizens of Houston, after being ordered to stand down and not travel to Texas and assist with the search and rescue efforts during Hurricane Harvey.


Chief Fennessy was selected to become the fire department’s 17th chief on September 3rd, 2015.

Fennessy has more than 40 years of firefighting experience.

IVP Existence Banner

Since he was hired as a San Diego firefighter in 1990, Fennessy has risen through the ranks of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. Before that, he served 13 years as a firefighter and supervisor with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.


Lifeguard Sgt. Ed Harris contacted IVN San Diego and gave this response to news of Fennessy heading to Orange County:

"The City and the taxpayers dodged a bullet. Brian Fennessy forced out competent leaders in numerous key positions. He simultaneously made major changes without planning or proper evaluation. Those changes have degraded EMS, Fire dispatch and the lifeguards. It is time to put things back together now." ~ Lifeguard Sgt. Ed Harris

Latest articles

New Poll Shows Kennedy Tied with Biden in Utah; Will Appear in First Debate?
For the first time in decades, an independent presidential candidate has caught up to one of the two establishment parties in a statewide poll....
17 June, 2024
5 min read
Poll Shows Strong Support for 'Top Two' Measure in South Dakota
A recent poll shows that 55% of South Dakota voters support Amendment H, which if approved in November will implement a nonpartisan, top-two primary in the state similar to systems used in California and Washington....
13 June, 2024
2 min read
Washington DC
Report: Half of 2024 US House Races Already a Done Deal
Editor's Note: The following article on The Fulcrum and has been republished with permission from t...
12 June, 2024
3 min read