“Chief Dean demonstrated the highest commitment to public service over a distinguished career here at the City,” said Murray. “We salute his devotion to the department and to his firefighters. I wish him the best in the future, even as I know I will miss his steady leadership and wise counsel.”
Chief Dean told the mayor in the early days of the new administration that he was looking forward to retirement. The mayor asked him to stay on at least another year.
Last week, Mayor Murray again asked Chief Dean to postpone his departure, but this time the chief told the mayor it was time to enjoy a well-deserved retirement.
“I consider it an honor and privilege to have served as the Fire Chief for the Seattle Fire Department,” said Dean. “I leave with confidence that the department is in good hands with outstanding leadership and vision at all levels of the organization.”
Chief Dean will continue to serve in his position until the end of the year. The mayor is immediately launching a search process to hire a new chief.
Dean entered the Department in 1970 as a trainee firefighter and rose through the ranks to become Chief of the Department in 2004. He served in several senior leadership positions in the department, including Fire Marshal, Assistant Chief of Administration, Deputy Chief of Personnel, and Deputy Chief of Support Services.
Under his leadership, the 1,150 member department has maintained its international reputation for emergency medicine and firefighting operations. He is known throughout the region for his vision and commitment to partnerships with other fire departments and public safety organizations.
During his tenure as Fire Chief, Dean directed the implementation of the Fire Facilities Levy that resulted in the construction and renovation of 32 fire stations, a new Joint Training Facility and new fireboats.
During the congressional review of the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Dean testified before the United States House of Representatives about how the department integrated female and LGBT firefighters into the fire culture.
He also worked with the Port of Seattle to establish the cruise ship homeport by developing a permit process that allowed safe refueling of cruise ships on the Central Waterfront.
Dean’s career spans landmark fires and events that dramatically altered the course of the Seattle Fire Department. In the early 1970’s, the fatal Ozark Hotel and Seventh Avenue Apartments fires resulted in updated fire and building codes around the nation. Seattle firefighters began serving as paramedics that same decade, saving countless lives in years since. The 1995 Pang warehouse fire killed four Seattle Firefighters, the worst firefighter fatality incident in the department’s history. The 2001 Nisqually Earthquake and the 2010 Fremont fire that killed four children and a young woman captured the nation’s attention.
In the New Year, Dean will be spending more time with family, traveling and improving his golf handicap.