Bill Walker, fire chief of the Alhambra Fire Department, will end his five-year tenure today. He will move on to become the new fire chief of Santa Monica.
Tom Phelps will be brought on to replace Walker in an interim role. Phelps, a former battalion chief, had retired from the AFD in December after serving as a firefighter for 35 years, reports the Pasadena-Star-News. City Manager Mary Swink, who is also retiring from her position this Saturday, will take on the role of interim city manager to help in the search for a new permanent fire chief.
The Source conducted an interview with Walker back in 2011. He said that, as fire chief, one of his main priorities was to be prepared for the unexpected at all times. He spoke of “low frequency, high risk events” and the department’s embrace of new technologies. Walker is a local of the West San Gabriel Valley—he was born in San Gabriel and had attended Arcadia High School.
Walker was presented with a plaque at Monday’s city council meeting. He commended Swink and the council for the support they'd provided during his service. He also lauded the efforts of his peers. “This is an unbelievable group of firefighters. When I came in they truly welcomed me in," Walker said at the meeting. "I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress and it’s a hard place to leave."