Ruben Torres

San Jose Fire Chief Leaves for Las Vegas Amid Unanswered Questions

William McDonald leaves the San Jose Fire Department this week to take over the fire and ambulance services in Las Vegas. (Graphic by Kara Brown)

A funny thing happened after Willie McDonald announced in a June 10 email to San Jose Fire Department staff that he was staying on as fire chief. He decided to send another email, only in this message, dated June 13, McDonald thanked everyone for their hard work and abruptly informed them he was leaving for Las Vegas, where he would oversee Clark County’s fire and ambulance services. So, why would a fire chief leave for a job expected to pay him less and demand more? And what would make him change his mind?