Heartland Fire & Rescue appoints new fire chief

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By Monica Zech

The Cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove, whose jointly managed fire departments make up the Heartland Fire & Rescue Service, have selected Colin Stowell as its next Fire Chief.  The City Managers for the three cities, Douglas Williford of El Cajon, Yvonne Garrett of La Mesa, and Lydia Romero of Lemon Grove, made the announcement that Stowell will begin serving in this capacity beginning Nov. 7.  Stowell replaces Chief Rick Sitta, who retired on August 12, 2016.

By Monica Zech

The Cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove, whose jointly managed fire departments make up the Heartland Fire & Rescue Service, have selected Colin Stowell as its next Fire Chief.  The City Managers for the three cities, Douglas Williford of El Cajon, Yvonne Garrett of La Mesa, and Lydia Romero of Lemon Grove, made the announcement that Stowell will begin serving in this capacity beginning Nov. 7.  Stowell replaces Chief Rick Sitta, who retired on August 12, 2016.

Stowell, 49, will be coming from the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, most recently as Assistant Fire Chief.  In this role Stowell has overseen the Emergency Operations Division, which includes 48 fire stations and 845 sworn personnel, the Training Division, special operations (haz-mat, bomb squad, air operations, etc.), lifeguards, and emergency medical services.

Stowell graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and a Certificate in Fire Protection Administration.  He also obtained an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science from Miramar College and a Fire Officer Certification from the California State Fire Marshall.  Recently, Stowell received the designation as an “Executive Fire Officer” from the United States Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Stowell has worked for the San Diego Fire Department since 1988 in a variety of roles.  These include serving as Fire Captain from 2002-2007, Fire Battalion Chief from 2007-2012, Deputy Fire Chief from 2012-2015, and Assistant Fire Chief of Emergency Operations since 2015.  Additionally, Stowell has served on the San Diego All Hazards Incident Management Team since 2007 and is the acting Incident Commander and Operations Section Chief for the team.

Stowell’s starting salary as Fire Chief will be $175,302.

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