Kevin Donnelly, chief of the Lodi Fire Department's operations division, has been named the city's fire marshal, Fire Chief Mike Pretz announced.
Donnelly, division chief since July 2001, replaces Verne Person as fire marshal later this month. Person retired last year but remained with the department as acting marshal.
"It's a great move for him, career-wise, and he'll do an excellent job," Pretz said of Donnelly, who joined the Lodi Fire Department in 1991. "I considered three criteria in choosing a fire marshal: One, the community; two, the department; and three, the person's own development. Kevin's been doing a great job as the division chief in operations and I felt he was ready to work with the development community and the city at large."
The fire marshal is in charge of enforcing fire codes, leading the city's fire department's public education efforts, reviewing fire safety for special events, and leading the fire investigation unit. Although Lodi's Community Development Department is now responsible for checking building plans for compliance with fire codes, Donnelly's division will continue to conduct the required inspections prior to occupancy.
Before beginning a career in the fire service, Donnelly worked as a maintenance mechanic for a Santa Cruz County food company, moonlighting as a volunteer firefighter. After being hired in Lodi, Donnelly worked his way up from firefighter to engineer, captain, battalion chief and division chief.
Chief Pretz said his department will soon begin its search for a new operations division chief to replace Donnelly.