An assistant chief with more than three decades of seniority was named Monday as the next chief of the Long Beach Fire Department.

“Thirty-two years ago, I was blessed to be hired by the finest fire department in the country,” Xavier Espino said. “I have enjoyed a career where co-workers quickly become family. … I am honored and humbled at the opportunity to lead the tremendous men and women of the Long Beach Fire Department.”

Espino will begin his new duties on Saturday, succeeding LBFD Chief Michael A. DuRee upon his retirement.

Espino, a Southern California native, has been married to his wife, Colleen, for 30 years, and has two adult children. His father is a retired Los Angeles County Fire Department captain.

“We look forward to our soon-to-be chief leading the dedicated women and men of our fire department,” Long Beach City Manager Patrick West said.

Mayor Robert Garcia said: “Xavier Espino is going to be a great fire chief. He has served our community for the past 32 years and his appointment is well deserved. I look forward to working with Chief Espino to continue the great work that our fire department is doing in the years ahead.”

Espino earned a degree in Occupational Studies from Cal State Long Beach.

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