Salinas Fire Department's new chief looks to do more than fight fires

  • Source: Californian Online - Salinas
  • Published: 06/21/2022 01:42 PM

Monterey County native Samuel Klemek spent nearly three decades climbing the ranks within the Salinas Fire Department. He's now reached the top — Salinas Fire Chief. His first days in the field of fire didn't start with dreams of becoming a firefighter, but rather as young news photographer. While covering a 1987 Pebble Beach fire, his life changed. "I jumped into the car with one of the Cal Fire battalion chiefs, who was evacuating himself as the fire was getting pretty bad and he got me out," Klemek said. "I got the first video from inside that fire and it made national news. I thought, 'Wow, that was quite an experience.' " One month later, Klemek received a call from an organization that allowed him to film fire departments responding to earthquakes, plane crashes and disasters happening across the country.


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