First published in the Sept. 17 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
Tim Ernst, who has spent more than 35 years in California firefighting service, was officially named this week as the Glendale Fire Department’s new chief.
The City Council formally approved the hiring on Tuesday, enthusiastically welcoming Ernst into the city fold. He takes the helm after Silvio Lanzas retired and accepted a job in the private sector this year. Ernst will begin work on Monday.
“I’m extremely proud and humbled to stand here in front of you today as your next fire chief,” Ernst said on Tuesday, speaking to the council. “At this point in my life and career, words cannot describe how excited I am for this opportunity, and I vow to leave a positive impact on the department and city during my tenure.”
Prior to this appointment, Ernst had climbed the ladder at the Los Angeles Fire Department and most recently served as an assistant chief. He joined LAFD as a paramedic in 1987 and ultimately served as a firefighter/paramedic, captain I, captain II and battalion chief prior to the assistant chief role. He also worked in administrative roles for the department’s medical liaison unit and fire chief’s planning section and supervised the air operations section, supply and maintenance division and emergency medical services division.
At LAFD, Ernst also helped develop the Swiftwater Rescue and FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team programs. He also was an incident commander for the department’s incident management team and an operations section chief for CAL FIRE’s incident management team.
“I think your background and experience bode well for this department,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said.
Prior to joining fire service, Ernst was a reserve deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and was a member of the Montrose Search and Rescue Team for 17 years. He and his family have lived in La Crescenta for 25 years.
“It’s really nice to have a fire chief that is in the neighborhood,” Councilman Dan Brotman said. “I think that makes a big difference.”
City officials said Ernst’s hiring followed a nationwide search for the next chief. His formal swearing-in ceremony will be at 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at Fire Station 21, located at 421 Oak St.
Ernst on Tuesday tipped his cap to everyone involved in his onboarding with the department and expressed his excitement at taking the reins for GFD.
“To the men and women at the Glendale fire stations who spend a third to half of their lives away from their families, thank you for your service,” he said. “I look forward to serving as your fire chief and continuing the outstanding legacy that this position brings with it.”