Springs fire chief will retire this week

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Chief Riley took the oath of office from Mayor Steve Bach in September 2013. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Chief Riley took the oath of office from Mayor Steve Bach in September 2013.
Springs Fire Chief Chris Riley will retire on Friday, the city announced in a news release, just two and a half years after coming here from Pueblo.

Gee, that's soon.

Riley is the first mayoral appointee to bite the dirt since Mayor John Suthers was elected last year, taking office in June. (Jeff Greene was named chief of staff before Suthers took his oath of office, replacing Steve Cox.)

Riley was hired by former Mayor Steve Bach in August 2013 after a national search in which Riley didn't apply for the job. Rather, Bach hand-picked him. He started work in September 2013, and almost immediately faced the challenge of staffing new Fire Station 22, 13075 Voyager Parkway, without adding more staff. That meant borrowing a crew from another station.

All as the Fire Department was failing to meet first-company response time goals in four of the city's nine zones and failing to meet structure-fire responses — those requiring more than one apparatus — in three zones.

Riley took on oversight of a department that covers a geographic area five times the size of Pueblo, has about four times the population and about three times the fire employees.

The city's news release:
Colorado Springs Fire Chief Christopher P. Riley will retire on Friday, March 4, the City of Colorado Springs announced today. Chief Riley began his tenure with CSFD in 2013 following seven years as fire chief of the Pueblo Fire Department. Chief Riley has nearly 35 years of professional fire service experience, having served in Southern California from 1981-2006.

Chief Riley’s accomplishments during his tenure include the addition of the 4th Battalion squad 11, fire prevention staffing, construction of the new fire station 22, new apparatus plan, successful accreditation compliance, formalized Labor/Management Initiative with IAFF Local 5 and establishing an ambulance contract with AMR.

“The City of Colorado Springs thanks Chief Riley for his three years of service and wishes him the best in the years to come,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers.

Deputy Chief Ted Collas, who has worked for CSFD since 1985, will serve as interim Fire Chief.

“It has truly been an honor and privilege serving the City and community alongside the outstanding men and women of the Colorado Springs Fire Department,” said Chief Riley.



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