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City Announces Fire Chief Transition

Chief Gene Gallegos to Retire After 23 Years of Fire Service, Deputy Chief Emily Jaramillo Appointed Next Fire Chief.

ALBUQUERQUE – Fire Chief Gene Gallegos is retiring after serving as a fire fighter for Albuquerque Fire Rescue since 2000. Mayor Keller has appointed First Deputy Chief of Emergency Services, Emily Jaramillo, as the next Chief for AFR.  Emily Jaramillo will be the first woman to lead the state’s largest Fire Rescue in its 123 year history.

“I am grateful for Chief Gallegos’ service to our entire community to help save lives, make important innovations to grow the department, and equip our first responders with the resources they need.  He has served with high distinction, leading the department through some of the city’s highest demands ever on our first responders” said Mayor Tim Keller. “As First Deputy, Emily Jaramillo is a natural choice--she is a tried and true leader within the department who will continue to guide AFR with her deep knowledge and skill.”

Gallegos served as Chief since 2021, and was previously appointed Fire Marshal in addition to many roles in the department including Training Division Battalion Chief in charge of the Cadet Training Program, Dispatcher, Paramedic, Cadet Instructor, and Professional Development Instructor.

“There is no greater honor than to serve next to and with the members of Albuquerque Fire Rescue.  It has been an absolute privilege to have the opportunity to lead   firefighters who never say ‘we can’t,’ never stop working hard, and never quit,” said Fire Chief Gene Gallegos. “These men and women dedicate a third of their lives to protecting the community they love, and regardless of what is asked of them, they do it with pride and respect. I could not be prouder to have the privilege of saying I was a firefighter with Albuquerque Fire Rescue.”

I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as the next Fire Chief at Albuquerque Fire Rescue,” said Deputy Chief Emily Jaramillo. “The women and men in our department provide compassionate, quality fire and EMS services ensuring the health and safety of the people of our city. I am excited to lead our department into the future through innovative practices while not losing sight of the fundamentals of public service.”

Chief Gallegos’ last day will be March 3. Deputy Chief Jaramillo’s appointment will go to City Council for confirmation.


Fire Chief Gene L. Gallegos Service History

  • Started with the City of ABQ in January of 1997 with Dept. of Senior Affairs
  • Started with AFR in August of 2000 as part of the 61st Cadet Class
  • Started as Interim Fire Chief in April of 2021
  • Positions - Fire Marshal, Training Division Battalion Chief, Training division Captain & Cadet Training Program, Dispatcher, Paramedic, Cadet Instructor, Professional Development Instructor, and over 10 years on field response in the SE.


AFR achievements with Fire Chief Gene L. Gallegos

  • AFR added 13 positions dedicated to paramedic training
  • AFR named Fire Station 7 “Ken Sanchez Fire Station”, due to his dedication to Southwest ABQ, and AFR’s firefighters.
  • AFR added 16 new positions to implement Medic 12 and future Medic 3. These units are vital to redistribute call volume in the SE.
  • AFR increased the productivity of the ADAPT program which has gained national attention in the CPTED certification program.
  • AFR completed all CPSE accreditation requirements and is sponsored to sit in front of the accreditation board. Less than 1% of fire departments are both ISO 1 and CPSE accredited.
  • AFR started the first Fire Service Aide program to help relieve field personnel of some none emergency service duties, such duties as hydrant checks and on large fires, assisting in resetting the units.
  • AFR contained the 2nd largest Bosque Fire in the city's history, 34 acres, with no homes or structures being affected.  
  • AFR added 2 new training structures to the academy with the help of Battalion Chief Joe Lopez, one smoke building and one burn building to improve firefighter training.
  • AFR implemented the Fire Due program to help get pertinent safety information to emergency response units.
  • AFR has increased the training of all Fire Marshal inspectors having them all certified to IFSAC Fire Inspector II.
  • AFR hosted the inaugural Behavioral Health “Rescue & Recovery” Seminar in collaboration with Local #244 to support the Peers and Clinicians who support our firefighters.
  • AFR implemented the first AFR Ambassador program with  help from  Deputy Commander S. Garcia, Batalion Commander F. Sanchez and APS leadership.   


Incoming Chief Emily Jaramillo

Emily Jaramillo has been with Albuquerque Fire Rescue since 2005 and has worked in a variety of positions as a firefighter and paramedicprior to becoming the Deputy Chief of Emergency Services in 2018. In this role, she  oversaw Emergency Medical Services, the HEART team, AFR Records, Quality Assurance, Pharmacy, EMS Training Divisions, and Firefighter Health and Safety. Deputy Chief Jaramillo  also covered Field Operations and Human Resources for AFR during a prolonged search to fill these positions in Fire Administration. Jaramillo will be the first woman to serve as Fire Chief in Albuquerque.

Emily obtained a Bachelors in English and Education from Luther College in 1999 and is currently completing a Masters of Public Health Policy at New Mexico State University.  She volunteers time in the community as a youth basketball coach, and most importantly, she is a mother to two young children, Avielle and Isaiah.