Newbury Park resident Ettore Berardinelli, a veteran of the Santa Monica Fire Department, has been selected as that city's new fire chief.
Berardinelli, Santa Monica's deputy chief and a firefighting instructor at Santa Monica College, will replace the retiring chief, Richard Bridges, on July 15.
"This feels really good," said Berardinelli, who has lived in the Conejo Valley since the early 1980s. "I've learned a lot in my years here and I'm really looking forward to being at the helm."
In his 25 years with the Santa Monica Fire Department, Berardinelli, 48, has advanced from firefighter to paramedic to fire engineer, and more recently into positions as captain and battalion chief.
He also led the 113-member department's training bureau for two years, conducting academies for recruits.
Unlike other candidates who might have considered the appointment a steppingstone to a larger department, Berardinelli said, he will stay in Santa Monica until retirement.
"I consider this the best job in the world and I wouldn't give it up," he said. "In fact, it's probably a lot more fun than retirement."