City taps Long Beach assistant fire chief as new head of Palm Springs Fire Department

Paul Alvarado will step into the role currently occupied by Deputy Fire Chief Jason Loya, who became the interim fire chief following Kevin Nalder’s resignation last August.
Incoming Palm Springs Fire Chief Paul Alvarado.

Eight months after its former fire chief resigned, the city of Palm Springs has named his replacement.

Driving the news: Paul Alvarado, the assistant fire chief in Long Beach since 2018, will be the next Palm Springs fire chief starting in May, City Manager Scott Stiles announced last week. He will step into the role currently occupied by Deputy Fire Chief Jason Loya, who became the interim fire chief after the former chief, Kevin Nalder, resigned last August.

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  • The city has yet to release Alvarado’s compensation. In 2021, he is reported to have made $211,000 in regular pay in Long Beach. Nalder reportedly made $209,000 as fire chief in 2021.

Looking back: The city has been without a permanent fire chief since last August, when its former chief, Kevin Nalder, abruptly resigned after seven years in the role. Documents released by the city a month after his resignation showed Nalder had been subject to an investigation over use of an electronic pain-relief device on a female city employee.

  • No formal complaint was filed regarding the incident and no disciplinary action was recommended in the report or in any other documents. Nonetheless, Nalder submitted his resignation five days after the report was delivered to a city attorney.

Zoom in: Alvarado started as a firefighter/paramedic in Long Beach 27 years ago. He rose through the ranks to serve as captain, battalion chief, and then assistant fire chief. Before Long Beach, he was a firefighter at the North Las Vegas Fire Department and Northrop Aircraft Division.

  • During his career in Long Beach, Alvarado led the Port of Long Beach’s alternative fuel projects, served as liaison to the city airport, reformed the fire department’s aircraft rescue and fire training, managed a triennial exercise, and developed an emergency response plan for the International Gateway Bridge.

Behind the scenes: Alvarado and his wife Kitty, a former general assignment reporter for NBC Palm Springs, are the parents of two adult sons, who are both first responders — and a Cairn Terrier named Bette Davis

  • “My wife Kitty and I have great affection for the Palm Springs community and I am incredibly excited to take the helm at the Palm Springs Fire Department and lead this already great team of dedicated firefighters into the next generation,” Alvarado said in a statement released by the city. 

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