Colorado Springs Fire Chief Richard C. Smith, a firefighter for 26 years, was chosen this week to assume command of Oxnard's Fire Department starting Feb. 6, city officials announced.
Smith, 53, will be Oxnard's first permanent fire chief since early 1986, when Ron Bogardus retired. He will be paid $71,324 a year.
"I'm looking forward to it with great anticipation, regardless of the fact that I leave Colorado Springs with a great deal of reluctance," said Smith, who said his move was prompted by his desire for a new challenge and a change of climate.
Smith started at Colorado Springs in 1962 and has been chief there for 9 years.
The 350-person Colorado Springs department, which serves a population of 280,000 over 180 square miles, is substantially larger than the Oxnard department. In his new job, he will command a 100-person office serving about 125,000 people over an area of roughly 30 square miles.