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Las Vegas fire chief retiring after 2 years in charge

Updated February 18, 2022 - 6:48 am

Las Vegas Fire Department Chief Jeff Buchanan is retiring in May, after less than two years at the helm, a city spokesman confirmed Thursday.

Buchanan has informed the department that he is leaving the first week in May after he turns 50 and qualifies for public retirement benefits, Las Vegas Communications Director David Riggleman said.

Riggleman said City Council members were briefed Tuesday on Buchanan’s plans.

In a two-sentence email Thursday, Buchanan told employees he would provide more details about his departure at an “upcoming Town Hall on February 28th.”

Buchanan, named fire chief in December 2020, succeeded William McDonald after he left in August to take a job as fire chief in Alameda County in Northern California. Buchanan had served as acting chief for several months before getting the full title.

In December, the Review-Journal reported that a residential inspection program launched after the deadly Alpine Motel apartments fire had gotten off to a slow start.

The program is focused on three-dozen buildings that are similar to the Alpine, where six people were killed downtown in December 2019 after a fire started from an unattended stovetop. It became the deadliest residential fire in city history.

A top fire official acknowledged in January 2020 that the department had failed to conduct inspections at the Alpine in the two years leading up to the fire.

In several years prior to Buchanan’s arrival, the fire department had gone through some internal upheaval, including a sexually explicit video of a firefighter that circulated among her colleagues.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4564. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter.

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