Laguna Beach taps Sacramento deputy chief to lead fire department

Fire Chief Niko King will start in Laguna Beach on July 5. Photo courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

A Sacramento deputy fire chief has been tapped as the next Laguna Beach fire chief, city officials said Wednesday.

Chief Niko King brings almost three decades of fire service experience to the position and will start July 5, following the retirement of Chief Mike Garcia.

“Chief King is recognized as a professional, dedicated, fair leader of high integrity who motivates others and has a great passion for the fire service,” City Manager Shohreh Dupuis said in a press release. “We are delighted to have Chief King continuing the Fire Department success in providing outstanding services to our community in fire prevention, fire protection, and emergency management.”

Prior to becoming deputy fire chief of operations, King served over five years as Sacramento’s assistant fire chief overseeing the Training Division and the launch of a new recruit academy. He also has years of interfacing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a strike team leader on several federal activations to large-scale disaster sites across the nation.

King earned a master’s degree in Homeland Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School and a master’s degree in Emergency Services Administration from California State University Long Beach.

King said he’s excited and honored to be selected as the next Laguna Beach fire chief.

“I look forward to working with the great men and women of the Fire Department, the City’s leadership team, local residents and business owners in continuing to ensure the Department carries out its mission at the highest level,” King said in a press release.

Laguna Beach’s new fire chief will join the agency on the heels of two major wildland fires in the last six months.

A Laguna Beach Firefighters Association spokesperson said Thursday that the union is pleased with King’s appointment.

“The City did a pretty good job of keeping all of the candidates on lockdown. We had a good idea of who was in the process,” Fire Capt. Tom Padden, president of the local firefighters’ union. “We think that Chief King from Sacramento City [Fire] is going to be a good fit. We’ve spoken with him and are looking forward to the new partnership.”

This story is developing and will be updated as necessary.

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