Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson, shown here after Mayor London Breed named her as the new Chief of the San Francisco Fire Department, was sworn in at City Hall on May 6, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

New fire chief sworn in at City Hall ceremony

Jeanine Nicholson, a 25-year-veteran of the department, will be the second woman appointed chief

Mayor London Breed swore in new Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson on Monday.

Nicholson, who has served with the department for 25 years in a variety of roles, most recently as deputy chief of administration, is the second woman to be appointed chief and the first openly LGBT person to hold the title. Her instalment follows the retirement of Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, who led the department for 15 years.

“Chief Nicholson is someone who needs no introduction for those in the Fire Department,” Breed said in a statement. “She is a dedicated public servant and a 25-year veteran of the department who has worked her way up from being a firefighter and a paramedic to being a battalion chief and deputy chief. She has protected our city while fighting through adversity, and her experience and her resilience have prepared her to lead the men and women who are out there every day protecting our residents.”

Nicholson’s experiences in the department include second-degree burns suffered during an arson fire on Felton Street in 2009 that injured five other firefighters. She has also survived breast cancer, which prompted her to become a vocal advocate for cancer prevention efforts for firefighters.

“I look forward to ensuring that our department remains prepared to respond to any emergencies facing The City, and to working proactively with other city departments help our homeless population get the care they need,” Nicholson said in a statement.

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