Montecito Fire welcomes three firefighters to the department

Credit: Courtesy Montecito Fire Department

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MONTECITO, CA – The Montecito Fire Department is pleased to welcome three firefighters to our organization following their successful completion of a 10-week fire academy. Our recruits trained alongside Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Department’s two recruits in a joint fire academy. These five firefighters comprise Class 124 and are set to graduate today, May 31, 2022.

We are grateful to our partners at Carpinteria-Summerland Fire for allowing us to train our recruits together.

“The collaboration of the joint academy supports the overall success of both departments and our ability to effectively serve our South Coast community,” said Fire Chief Kevin Taylor.

We would like to thank and recognize Montecito Fire Captain Bob Galbraith, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Captain Nick Koepenick and Montecito Fire Engineer Billy Wrenn for their dedication to organizing the academy and training the recruits.

Firefighter Jess Gilkey is Class 124’s valedictorian. He comes to Montecito Fire after nine years with the US Forest Service. He started his career on the Stanislaus National Forest and later went on to become a smokejumper in Idaho and Washington for four years. He became familiar with the Central and South Coasts while working as an Arroyo Grande hotshot for two years and at the Rincon Forest Service station for two years. Gilkey lives in San Diego with his girlfriend Timmie.

Firefighter Patrick Ruiz joins the department with nine years of experience in the fire service. A Santa Barbara native, Ruiz spent the first seven years of his career working on the Los Padres National Forest and one season as a smokejumper in Redding. Prior to joining Montecito Fire, he worked for Santa Maria City Fire for two years. He lives in Santa Barbara with his wife Daisy and their baby girl, Lucy. 

Firefighter John Weber brings 13 years of experience to Montecito. While attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, he worked three seasons with the Los Padres National Forest’s Santa Lucia Crew 7. He then spent five years as an Arroyo Grande hotshot, one year as a seasonal firefighter for Atascadero Fire and a year with Santa Barbara County Fire’s Crew 10. Most recently, he worked for three years as a Paso Robles City firefighter. He lives in San Luis Obispo with his fiancé Karina. 

Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Department is gaining Firefighter/Paramedic John Rieger and Firefighter/Paramedic Mike Medina. Both grew up locally and are excited and thankful for the opportunity to serve their hometown community.

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