Berkeley fire chief retires after 27 years with department


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Berkeley Fire Chief Debra Pryor retired last Friday after a 27-year career with Berkeley Fire Department. She has served as the head of the city of Berkeley’s fire department since 2004.

Deputy Chief Gil Dong will take the helm until a permanent chief is hired.

Pryor was Berkeley’s first female fire chief and the second African American fire chief in the nation, according to a bio released by the city of Berkeley.

Before Pryor joined Berkeley’s fire department in 1985, she worked for the city of Berkeley as a clerk. Pryor became Berkeley’s first female fire fighter and worked as as a fire captain, department training officer and assistant fire chief, among other positions.

She received a master’s degree in public administration from California State University at Hayward in 2001.

In 2002, Pryor served as the fire marshal and then the departmental operations chief at Palo Alto Fire Department before returning to Berkeley when she was selected as the city’s fire chief in 2004.

Contact Gautham Thomas at [email protected].