After 36 years in the Long Beach Fire Department, Chief Xavier Espino announced his retirement Thursday. Espino joined the Long Beach Fire Department in 1986 and served as Fire Chief since 2018. His last day will be Dec. 30.

“Chief Espino spent his entire career to serving our community,” said City Manager Tom Modica in a statement. “We are extremely grateful for his leadership, professionalism and ability to motivate personnel even during the most challenging of circumstances. I wish him all the best during his well-deserved retirement and quality time with his family.”

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said Espino embodies what it means to be a leader in public service.

“He has led our Fire Department with honor, integrity and a deep commitment to the safety of our residents,” Garcia said. “We wish him well as he journeys into retirement.”

Espino had a number of roles and duties with the Long Beach Fire Department over his nearly four-decade career. He was a firefighter/paramedic, captain, battalion chief and assistant chief.

He was instrumental promoting the department’s first female chief officer and preserving the history of the department.

As fire chief, he restored Fire Engine 17, dedicated the Long Beach Fire Department Captain David Rosa Regional Training Center, unveiled the new Police/Fire Memorial at the Long Beach Civic Center and revived the Long Beach Fire Department Meritorious Awards Ceremony after a 15-year hiatus.

He also helped the department launch the mobile stroke program, in partnership with UCLA. It was one of the first such programs on the West Coast, and he guided the department through the COVID-19 pandemic.

He is a second-generation firefighter — his father was a retired captain for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

“I have been blessed to serve as a firefighter for the Long Beach Fire Department for nearly 37 years; the past four years as the Fire Chief. It has been my honor to protect the residents who call Long Beach home, the workforce who keep Long Beach running, and the visitors who enjoy our beautiful City,” Espino said. “In this, our 125th Anniversary, we have proven our resilience. Though the past four years have been fraught with extremely trying issues, we have responded with dedication and resolve and find ourselves stronger for the struggle. I am personally indebted to the men and women of the Long Beach Fire Department for their selfless service and dedication to the mission.”

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