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Ruben Torres to be sworn in today as new chief of Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department

2 p.m. ceremony will include traditional 'badge-pinning' of new chief

Former San Jose fire chief Ruben Torres will be sworn in as the new chief of the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department today.

The traditional and colorful "badge-pinning" ceremony will start at 2 p.m. at the department's headquarters at 3560 Nevada St., next to Bernal Avenue.

Mayors Jerry Thorne of Pleasanton and John Marchand of Livermore, the two cities that operate the fire department under a joint powers agreement, will officiate at the ceremony.

Participating in the ceremony will be Pleasanton City Manager Nelson Fialho and Livermore City Manager Marc Roberts, who are the executive directors of the fire department. Deputy fire chiefs Joe Rodondi and Jeff Peters also will participate.

Torres brings 29 years of fire service experience to the position, including nine years at his most recent post, as fire chief and senior command for the San Jose Fire Department.

As fire chief here, Torres will oversee a fire department with a staff of 120 sworn and non-sworn employees who provide services to the residents of Livermore and Pleasanton including emergency medical response, fire suppression, rescue emergencies, hazardous materials incidents and more.

The department also provides public education in fire prevention and emergency preparedness for local residents and businesses.

"Ruben Torres brings a vast background in firefighting and public safety to our two cities," Fialho said. "We were impressed with his ability to tackle the complexities and challenges of the 10th largest city in the nation, particularly in the areas of building relationships within the community, strategic planning and budget management."

Roberts agreed.

"I am very pleased that Chief Torres will be joining the management team," Roberts said. "His extensive background in firefighting and public safety coupled with his ability to plan strategically and build community relationships will continue the high quality of service in Livermore and Pleasanton."

Torres began his career as a firefighter in San Jose and worked through the ranks of fire engineer, captain, assistant fire marshal, battalion chief and deputy fire chief. He is also recognized as a leader for the advocacy and facilitation of cultural appreciation and diversity within the fire department.

Torres and his wife, Venus, have three children: Ruben Torres Jr., 25; Vanessa, 13, and Angelita, 12. They also are guardians of a 5-year old, Jacob, who lives with them.

Torres joined the San Jose Fire Department when he was 20 years old and celebrated his 29th year with the force Jan. 6. Although serving as the city's fire chief, it was unclear how long he could keep the post after his son joined the department as an entry-level fireman. San Jose has an anti-nepotism policy that prohibits administrators from managing anyone in the immediate family.

Torres said he was attracted to the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department because of its smaller size.

"San Jose has 760 in the fire department, including 670 sworn officers," he said. "With 32 fire stations spread throughout the city and three shifts at all times, it's difficult to stay connected."

"Here, with 10 stations in two cities, I'll have a better opportunity to get to know and stay in touch with firefighters and staff, and I'm looking forward to that part," he added.

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