Montecito Fire welcomes three firefighters to the department

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MONTECITO, Calif. – The Montecito Fire Department is pleased to welcome three firefighters to our organization after successfully completing a 10 week fire academy. Our recruits trained alongside the two Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Department recruits at a joint fire school. These five firefighters are part of Class 124 and are expected 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 joint academy collaboration 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 acknowledge Montecito Fire Captain Bob Galbraith, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Captain Nick Koepenick and Montecito Fire Engineer Billy Wrenn for their dedication to the organization of the academy and the recruit training.

Firefighter Jess Gilkey is the Class 124 valedictorian. He comes to Montecito Fire after nine years with the US Forest Service. He started his career in the Stanislaus National Forest and later became a parachutist in Idaho and Washington for four years. He became familiar with the central and southern coasts while working as the Arroyo Grande Hot Spot 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 fire service experience. A native of Santa Barbara, Ruiz spent the first seven years of his career working in the Los Padres National Forest and a season as a parachutist 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 young daughter, Lucy.

Firefighter John Weber brings 13 years of experience to Montecito. While attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, he worked three seasons with the Santa Lucia Crew 7 of the Los Padres National Forest. He then spent five years as an Arroyo Grande hotshot, a 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 fiancée Karina.

The Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Department gains Firefighter/Paramedic John Rieger and Firefighter/Paramedic Mike Medina. Both grew up locally and are thrilled and grateful to have the opportunity to serve their hometown community.

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