Schmitt named new Bremerton fire chief

Schmitt named new Bremerton fire chief

BREMERTON — The Bremerton Fire Department has a new chief.

“We called and offered him the job and he accepted,” Mayor Patty Lent said March 22 of David Schmitt, battalion chief with the Burbank Fire Department in California.

“We had four really great candidates to choose from and we arrived at consensus, that he was the one we wanted.”

The salary range for the position is $120,292 to $146,564. Schmitt will succeed Al Duke, who retired.

Schmitt has worked for the Burbank FD since he started as a firefighter in 1986. He has a bachelor’s degree in fire and emergency management from Kaplan University, Iowa.

According to Lent, Schmitt will need “about 45 to 60 days to wrap up his affairs there” before assuming his new duties. During that time, Provisional Chief Pat McGanney will continue to head the department.

The search for a new chief began when Duke retired in January. Duke, 61, had been Bremerton’s fire chief since 1997. To aid with the nationwide search for his replacement, the Bremerton City Council hired a consultant for $26,000.

With the aid of the consultant, the City Council narrowed the initial list of 20 applicants down to a final four: James Martin, chief of Port Ludlow Fire and Rescue; William Pessemier, director of Summit County, Colorado’s Public Safety Division; McGanney, Bremerton’s provisional chief since Duke’s retirement; and Schmitt.

The public had an opportunity to meet the four candidates at a March 16 reception. Panel interviews were then held with the candidates on March 17, after which city officials made their decision.

The Bremerton Fire Department has 58 personnel, three stations, and an annual budget of about $9 million, according to the department website.

In 2015, the latest year for which numbers are available, the department responded to 6,288 EMS calls and 2,416 fire calls, for a total of 8,704.

Terryl Asla is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact him at