Millage Peaks named interim LA fire chief

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Brian Watt/KPCC

LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Interim Fire Chief Millage Peaks

The Los Angeles Fire Department says goodbye to Chief Douglas Barry. He’s retiring after 34 years with the department. Last Friday, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa nominated Millage Peaks to succeed Barry.

Millage Peaks: There is no higher honor for a firefighter to become the chief. And the Los Angeles Fire Department is such a great organization, and to be selected to lead that organization, there’s nothing like it in life.

Brian Watt: It seems a little daunting. You’re walking into a fire.

Peaks: Right, but as our president says, “out of crisis comes change.” And I believe that there are a lot of positive things that can happen with the Los Angeles Fire Department despite the budget problems that we’re having right now.

I really want to employ a lot of out of the box thinking, innovation, and I’m soliciting all of the input from anyone in the organization, from top to bottom, and together I want to see us be successful as a team.

Watt: So on Monday morning, you walk in, and you’re the chief – the acting – what’s the first thing that–

Peaks: Whatever’s going on. It’s just like being a firefighter any other day of my life – you inherit whatever’s going on at the time. I’ve done it for the last 33 years and I’m planning on doing it during my tenure as the fire chief.

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