New San Luis fire chief eyes eastside plans
SAN LUIS, Ariz. — As one of his first tasks as this city’s fire chief, Angel Ramirez is focusing on the future protection of residents of the east side of San Luis
Ramirez, named recently as fire chief by the San Luis City Council, is involved in planning for the construction of a fire and police department substation to serve an area where the city’s residential growth is being channeled.
A site has already been picked out for the substation near San Luis II, the city’s border crossing for commercial truck travel between the United States and Mexico site. Ramirez said preparations are already underway for construction expected to begin later this year.
Ramirez, 39, had been serving as acting head of the San Luis Fire Department since February, when then-Chief Hank Green retired. On Wednesday, the council awarded him the post full time under a twoyear contract that will pay him $102,500 annually.
He takes the helm of a department with 36 employees, among them 24 certified as paramedics and 16 and hazardous materials technicians.
Ramirez has served his entire firefighting career in San Luis, joining the city fire department in 2004 as a firefighter and rising through the ranks to captain and then assistant chief, second in command after Green.
“I am very excited. These last 11 months have been a struggle, but I came in wellprepared, thanks to (Green) helping me, just as all the supervisors have done.”
At the time Ramirez joined the department, it had no ambulance of its own, instead contracting with the Somerton/Cocopah Fire Department or Rural/Metro to provide one for San Luis residents who needed to be rushed to the hospital.
Later, having moved into a management position, Ramirez oversaw the department application to the state for a permit to operate its own ambulance service. The city received the permit in 2017 and now has two ambulances.
“That was a big learning experience for me, one guided by Chief Green,” Ramirez said. “It was a three-year project, and it was done at a time when the state wasn’t giving out many of those permits, and most that were given out were going to private departments.”
Ramirez says it is in the process of acquiring a third ambulance that will be assigned to the eastside substation now in the planning stage.
Apart from opening the new substation, another of Ramirez’s goals is to boost the fire department’s rating with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) from Class 3 to Class 2 over the next three years. The improve rating, he said, would mean lower insurance rates for homeowners.
Apart from 15 years of experience with the department, Ramirez has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Arizona State University, is certified through the university as a public administrator, and is a graduate of the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association’s training academy, with certifications as a paramedic and hazardous materials technician.
ANGEL RAMIREZ HAS BEEN named as the new fire chief in San Luis, Ariz.