City of Santa Clara Hires Ruben Torres as New Fire Chief

After almost 35 years with the Santa Clara Fire Department, Bill Kelly—who’s served as its fire chief since 2012—is retiring. The city will officially proclaim Ruben Torres as his successor on June 30, when he begins this new role.

The news comes after a national recruitment process organized by Teri Black & Company, LLC, in collaboration with City Manager Deanna Santana.

“We conducted robust employee engagement and community outreach, getting input from residents as well as staff about selecting a fire chief who’s committed to providing service without limits,” Santana said in a news release. “I met with more than 100 fire department staff and their input guided our recruitment efforts at every step of the way.”

Torres will bring 33 years of experience in the field to his new role, which takes him away from an equivalent position at the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department.

Before taking the helm in the East Bay suburbs, he spent 29 years climbing the ranks of the San Jose Fire Department from entry-level, to hazmat tech, to field operations, special projects, deputy chief and fire marshal.

“I look forward to working in partnership with the community and building upon the great work that the Santa Clara Fire Department has accomplished over the past several years,” Torres said in press release. “As fire chief, I recognize the importance of our organization being well-positioned and nimble to address the service delivery demands of a growing city while also continuing to deliver extraordinary service for Santa Clarans.”

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