City Manager Graham Mitchell announced today that Deputy Fire Chief Russell Knowles has been named Fire Chief for the City of Escondido, effective June 5, 2016. Chief Knowles will succeed Fire Chief Mike Lowry who will retire on June 3 after almost 34 years with Escondido.
A twenty-five year veteran, Chief Knowles currently is responsible for the day-to-day details of running the Department including supervision of three Battalion Chiefs and the Training and EMS Division. Chief Knowles joined the Escondido Fire Department as a Firefighter 1991. He has risen through the ranks, working as a Firefighter Paramedic, Fire Captain, Battalion Chief, Division Chief and Deputy Fire Chief.
Russ holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Administration from Cogswell Polytechnic College as well as an Associate’s Degree with a major in Public Fire Service. Russ served as the Chair of the North Zone Operations Chiefs and the North Zone liaison to the San Diego County Operations committee. He also has served as President for the Escondido Firefighter’s Association.
In making the announcement City Manager Graham Mitchell noted, “Chief Knowles will continue Escondido’s tradition of providing a highly professional level of medical and fire service. I look forward to his innovative perspective to service delivery.”
Commenting on the announcement, Jeff Sargis, President of the Escondido Fire Fighters Association, said, “On behalf of the Escondido Firefighters Association, I extend our congratulations to Chief Knowles on his promotion. I look forward to our future and believe the department and community will prosper under the leadership of Chief Knowles.”
Chief Knowles’ salary will be $183,214.