After 29 years with the Rancho Cucamonga Fire District, Fire Chief Mike Bell retired on August 13, 2014, and will be succeeded by Deputy Chief Mike Costello.
Mike Bell was the first Rancho Cucamonga Fire Chief to have served in each rank within the organization, including Firefighter, Engineer, Captain, Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal and Deputy Chief. He began his career as a Paid Call Firefighter with the Town of Apple Valley in 1981, and joined the Rancho Cucamonga Fire District in 1985 as a firefighter when the department was still the Foothill Fire District.
“Chief Bell has truly served the residents of this community very well, in so many ways, over the years,” said John Gillison, City Manager.
Following an internal recruitment process that involved 11 highly-qualified applicants, Deputy Chief Mike Costello was chosen as Fire Chief to lead the organization of 125 employees. Costello, a husband and father of four, began his career over 30 years ago as a firefighter with the Forest Service, then Paid Call Firefighter with Cal Fire and full-time experience with the Banning Fire Department before coming to the Rancho Cucamonga Fire District in 1989. He has promoted through the ranks, from Firefighter to Engineer and Captain, then promoting to Battalion Chief in 2003 and Deputy Chief of Operations in 2011.
“I am very excited about Chief Costello assuming this post as I know he brings an energy, enthusiasm and new ideas which will inspire and lead the organization to even greater accomplishments,” said Gillison.
Costello has worked hard to improve the department’s planning processes with the development of the Organizational Framework, program management tools and objective-based decision making. He has many established relationships in public safety throughout the region through his long involvement with National Incident Management Teams and his leadership in the development of the West End Operating Plan and other multi-agency efforts.
Bell praised Costello for his “vast operational experience and diligence working with staff to ensure the Fire District’s premier service delivery continues to become the ‘best in the world’ for the citizens and businesses of Rancho Cucamonga.”