New Long Beach Fire Chief Dennis Buchanan (Photo: City of Long Beach)

Dennis Buchanan, a 29-year veteran of the Long Beach Fire Department, has been appointed chief, succeeding the recently retired Xavier Espino, City Manager Tom Modica announced Wednesday.

Buchanan, who becomes the department’s first Black/Latino chief, will begin his new role immediately, Modica said.

“Chief Buchanan is a true professional and community-oriented manager, who I know will take us to the next level of professionalism and service to our community,” Modica said in a statement. “I have confidence that Chief Buchanan will lead with distinction, fostering a strong culture of service and honor, professionalism and accountability, and diversity and inclusion in our Fire Department.”

Buchanan, a West Covina native, most recently was deputy chief of support services. He has also held the ranks of assistant chief of support services, battalion chief, fire captain, paramedic and firefighter. In 18 years as a captain, he spent eight in the port as a hazardous materials program specialist and three years teaching recruits in the Fire Academy.

A graduate of Cal State Long Beach, he has a bachelor’s degree in vocational education. In addition, he recently served as president of the Friends of Long Beach Firefighters, a non-profit that supports community-based initiatives for the fire service.

Buchanan will oversee a department of some 545 sworn and civilian staff and an annual budget of $154 million.

“What an amazing honor it is to have been selected for the position of fire chief for the Long Beach Fire Department,” Buchanan said in a statement released by the city.

“I am humbled by this opportunity and am thankful for the support of those that supported me through this process. The Long Beach Fire Department must reflect the diversity of our city and strive to meet the evolving needs of those we serve. We must provide opportunities to those that aspire to have careers in public safety and promote professional growth within our organization.”

Buchanan’s predecessor, Espino, announced his retirement in November after 37 years with the department. He had been chief since 2018.