NORCO — Laguna Beach's acting fire chief, Herb Richard Jewell, will assume command of the Norco Fire Department on Dec. 23, city officials announced.
Jewell, a battalion chief and fire marshal in Laguna Beach, has served as acting chief in that city for more than three months while the permanent chief has been on sick leave. "He wants to stay on until the chief gets back on full-time duty, which I fully respect," Norco City Manager John Donlevy said Thursday.
"He's what's known in this business as a 'comer,' " Donlevy said. "He's eventually going to be the fire chief of a large city, I feel." Jewell has agreed to stay with the Norco Fire Department for at least five years, Donlevy said.
Jewell, 33, began his career as a firefighter in Hermosa Beach. He served as a paramedic in Seal Beach and a captain in Victorville. He joined the Laguna Beach Fire Department in June, 1981, and was promoted to battalion chief in October, 1983.
In addition to Norco's 16-member Fire Department, Jewell will also supervise the city's code enforcement, animal control and building inspection activities. His annual salary will be $48,000.