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E.C. fire marshal accepts Lompoc fire chief position

June 14, 2002|By MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writer

After 25 years with the El Centro Fire Department, Fire Marshal Linual White will be taking the job of fire chief in Lompoc to live out a longtime dream of following in his father's footsteps as a fire chief.

White, 46, a second-generation firefighter, will be starting his new job June 29. His last day working in El Centro will be June 28.

"I'm very excited because it's an opportunity to share my experience and opportunities with that community," said White.

"Because my dad retired as a chief, I wanted to follow in his footsteps and assume that leadership position," said White.

He was offered the position in May by Lompoc City Manager Frank L. Priore after Priore toured El Centro and spoke to city administrators. White said he previously received an invitation to apply for the job in the mail and did so.

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"I turned in my application and they felt I was the desired candidate," said White.

"I was honored," said White of when Priore offered him the position, "I told him that I wanted to discuss it with my wife and after discussing it with her I would give him an answer.

"So we talked as a family and it sounded like a good career move and Lompoc sounded like a good community to live in," said White.

Lompoc is on the Central Coast above Santa Barbara and has about 42,000 resident. It's known for its various flowers and was dubbed the "Valley of Flowers," according to the city's Website.

El Centro Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim Reel said, "We wish he wouldn't be leaving.

"He's kind of the one everyone looks up to because he comes in contact with every shift because of work schedule.

"He's very personable, very professional and he exemplifies the integrity we all aspire to," added Reel.

Said White: "The hardest thing for me was that I truly love the city of El Centro, and the guys, they're my family. It's very tough for me to leave them.

"But it's a good opportunity for my family and I and we took it," he added.

"It's been a wonderful career for my father and his family and myself and my family," he said.

He praised his wife, Carolyn, for always supporting him.

"I just hope to serve the community of Lompoc well and be a contribution to society. I'm going to miss everyone here," he said.

>>Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3441.

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