Phoenix hires its first female fire chief

Kara Kalkbrenner was named acting chief in January after Bob Khan announced he was retiring to spend time with his sick father

PHOENIX — Kara Kalkbrenner has become Phoenix's first female fire chief.

The Associated Press reported that the Phoenix, Ariz. native was named the city's new chief Wednesday after a national search.

"The glass ceiling is broken in the city of Phoenix," Mayor Greg Stanton said. "No one is more qualified to lead our fire department."

Kalkbrenner began her career as a Phoenix firefighter in 1985. She rose through the ranks of fire engineer, fire captain, division chief, deputy chief, assistant chief and executive assistant chief.

She was named acting chief in January after Bob Khan announced that he was retiring to spend more time with his ailing father, according to the report.

Kalkbrenner joins just two other female fire chiefs in cities with more than 40 fire stations and more than 1,000 members — San Francisco and Austin, Texas. Phoenix operates 58 fire stations with 1,948 members, according to the report.

"I have been preparing for this position for nearly 30 years," Kalkbrenner said.

A formal swearing-in ceremony for Kalkbrenner is being planned for early next month.

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