Earlier this month, Faulconer tapped Stowell for the job following a three-month national search. Stowell began his firefighting career at SDFD in 1988 and steadily rose through the ranks to assistant chief before leaving in 2016 to lead Heartland Fire & Rescue. Stowell’s first day as SDFD chief will be Aug. 13.
“Public safety is the City’s top priority and that’s why we’re excited to welcome back to San Diego an exceptional leader who spent nearly three decades protecting our neighborhoods and our residents,” Faulconer said. “Chief Stowell has the experience needed to hit the ground running on the first day and build on the momentum we’ve made over the past few years with major investments to improve public safety across the city. I want to thank the City Council members for recognizing that and giving Chief Stowell their unanimous support.”
Stowell was strongly recommended by both the community and professional interview panels because of his wide range of firefighting experience. He will lead a department that includes more than 1,200 firefighters, lifeguards and support staff.
“I’m truly humbled and honored to be returning to the department I first started my career with over 30 years ago, and to receive this confirmation of trust by our city’s elected officials to lead this great organization and its dedicated members,” Stowell said. “I want to thank Mayor Faulconer, Chief Operating Officer Kris Michell, and the entire City Council for their overwhelming vote of confidence in my appointment as Fire-Rescue Chief, as well as their continuous support and advocacy for providing the highest level of fire protection and lifeguard services that our citizens and visitors deserve."
As San Diego’s assistant fire chief, Stowell oversaw the Emergency Operations division, which includes 48 fire stations, lifeguard services, the training division, emergency medical services, and special operations comprising hazardous materials, air operations, the bomb squad, and fire investigations. He led more than 845 sworn personnel and 240 full-time or seasonal lifeguards.