SF Mayor Appoints First LGBT Fire Chief: Jeanine Nicholson

Nicholson, a 25-year veteran in the department, is also only the second woman to hold the position. The first was her predecessor Joanne Hayes-White

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Tuesday announced the appointment of San Francisco's first LGBT fire chief.

Breed named Jeanine Nicholson, a deputy chief of the San Francisco Fire Department, as the replacement for current San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, who announced she was retiring last year.

"San Francisco is an incredible city with unique challenges resulting from our dense urban environment and our ever-present earthquake risk. I am committed to meeting these challenges and continuing the work to make our City safer for all residents," Nicholson said.

Nicholson, a 25-year veteran in the department, is also only the second woman to hold the position. The first was Hayes-White.

"Her experience and her resiliency have prepared her to lead the men and women who are out there every day protecting our residents, and I am confident she will be ready to lead the Department on day one," Breed said in a statement.

Breed was also grateful to Hayes-White for staying on after announcing her retirement.

"I also want to thank Chief Joanne Hayes-White for her service and her support as we go through this transition process," she said.

Hayes-White was first appointed as fire chief by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004. "The City will be in very capable hands with Chief Nicholson leading the San Francisco Fire Department and we’re both committed to a smooth transition," Hayes-White said.

Before Nicholson moved into a leadership position, she was a firefighter in the South of Market and the Western Addition areas, a firefighter paramedic in the Ingleside and Richmond, a lieutenant in Bernal Heights, a captain in the Financial District, and a battalion chief in the Sunset and in Chinatown, according to the city.

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