Fennessy, currently an assistant fire chief, will take over for Chief Javier Mainar when he retires on Nov. 12.
“Chief Fennessy has unmatched experience and operational knowledge of the fire-rescue department, which makes him the ideal person to continue our efforts to improve emergency response times and create a more diverse department,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “Under Chief Mainar, the City made great strides in bringing more equality to services in neighborhoods throughout the City, and I am confident Chief Fennessy will do the same.”
Fennessy, 56, has 38 years of firefighting experience that began with the U.S. Forest Service. He joined the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department in 1990 and rose through the ranks to his current position as assistant fire chief of emergency operations.
“When I began my fire service career,” Hennessy said, “I could not have imagined that 38 years later my passion for public service would have grown exponentially. Mayor Faulconer has laid the groundwork for continuing to bring more equality of services by improving emergency response times in those neighborhoods that need it the most. With the City Council’s continued support and the resource improvements that the mayor and council have implemented, we will be continuing this important work.”
Fennessy is said to be the driving force in developing and implementing the City’s helicopter program. The City now has two firefighting and rescue helicopters with night-flying capability that are available for water drops and rescues throughout the county. These helicopters are the only air resources in the region capable of providing night firefighting operations.
Mainar spent his 35-year career with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. He began as a firefighter and became chief in 2009. His accomplishments include directing the firefighting operations during the 2007 wildfires as the City’s incident commander and guiding the department through a period of rolling fire engine brownouts to achieve $11 million in budgetary savings during the height of the City's budget crisis.