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Posted on: December 17, 2020

Fire Chief Tony Gossner Retiring Dec. 23

Tony Gossner Headshot

After 30 years of service with the Fire Department, Chief Tony Gossner will be retiring from the City Dec. 23. Chief Gossner was originally hired by the Santa Rosa Fire Department on October 15, 1990 as a Firefighter. He rose through the Department ranks over the years, serving as Fire Captain, Battalion Chief, and Deputy Chief before being selected as Interim Fire Chief for the Santa Rosa Fire Department in 2013. Chief Gossner was eventually appointed to Fire Chief in August 31, 2014.

On the night of October 8, 2017 when the Tubbs fire roared into Santa Rosa from the east, Chief Gossner took incident command early in the event, having to move his command post twice as the fire burned over 5% of the structures in the City. He remained calm, collected, and strategically driven as he built a command structure and kept City leadership and surrounding fire agencies informed of the fire fight. He transitioned into unified command and eventually into repopulation, recovery, and watershed emergency response.

Following those event, Chief Gossner has provided leadership and management at the local, regional, and statewide levels to make the fire service more effective and efficient based off the tragic lessons learned in October 2017. He has worked tirelessly to improve local firefighting agencies abilities to provide immediate firefighting aid to the contiguous counties within our region, including helping to secure funding to provide pre-positioning of firefighters and equipment throughout the region in times of high fire weather.

Chief Gossner again took the role of Unified Commander with Cal Fire Incident Management Team during the Kincade Fire in 2019 as well as the recent Glass Fire this past fall. Chief Gossner’s experience during the Tubbs Fire proved invaluable to the Incident Management Team and other Unified Commanders.

The Chief has shared Santa Rosa’s wildfire stories with others around the country to educate them on large-scale wildfires and disaster management. The Chief has testified at the state and federal level to support legislation and policy changes that benefit disaster survivors, bolsters the resiliency of wireless communications infrastructure, and better addresses the unique circumstances of wildfire disasters, and increases funding and improves fire services.

The City of Santa Rosa is incredibly grateful for his service and dedication to protecting our community – we wish him all the best in his retirement.

Interim Fire Chief Appointment 

Scott Westrope has been appointed Interim Fire Chief effective Dec. 24. He has over 26 years of experience in the fire service, with over 20 of those years with the Santa Rosa Fire Department.  Scott has worked his way through the ranks of the Fire Department holding the positions of Firefighter/Paramedic, Fire Captain, Training Captain, and Battalion Chief.  As a Battalion Chief, Scott served the EMS/Emergency Preparedness Division and the Training and Special Operation Division.  In the wake of the Tubbs Fire, Scott served in a limited term position as the Battalion Chief overseeing Organizational Recovery where he commissioned the Tubbs Fire Citywide After-Action Report.  For the past two and a half years, Scott has served as the Santa Rosa Fire Department Deputy Chief where he has led the department through the Kincade Fire and Glass Fire.  During his tenure as Deputy Fire Chief, Scott has led the development and implementation of the Santa Rosa Fire Department Recruitment and Diversity Strategic Plan and the Santa Rosa Fire Department Wildland Resiliency and Response Strategic Plan.  In addition to his professional experience, Scott has a Bachelor of Science degree in Emergency Services Management with a special certificate in Homeland Security and is a Master’s Candidate in Organizational Development.

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