Mayor Brown Appoints Interim Fire Chief

Erin Hut, Communications Director, 509.625.6740

Friday, January 12, 2024 at 10:44 a.m.

Mayor Lisa Brown has appointed Deputy Fire Chief Julie O’Berg to be Interim Fire Chief of the Spokane Fire Department. O’Berg is stepping into the role following Chief Brian Schaeffer’s announcement of his retirement.  

O’Berg has served as Deputy Chief of Operations with the Spokane Fire Department since 2020. She spent 28 years with the Overland Park Fire Department in the Kansas City Metro area, where she began as a firefighter and paramedic, and progressed through the roles of Lieutenant, Captain, and Battalion Chief. She also spent time in the investigations unit, as a Training Officer, and served with the Kansas State Incident Management Team. 

"In times of transition, we find strength in leadership. Deputy Chief O’Berg is an experienced and qualified leader who is not only respected by her colleagues, but who I know will provide stability for the department through this time of change. I am appreciative of her willingness to rise to this challenge and look forward to her input as we move forward,” Mayor Brown said.  

"I am proud to serve the members of the Spokane Fire Department and the Spokane community in this role during this time of transition. I look forward to working with both department and city leadership to provide stability and ensure that the department is positioned to excel at our mission,” Deputy Chief O’Berg said.  

O’Berg has indicated she will not seek the permanent role of Fire Chief. She will instead spend her time in the interim role fulfilling the responsibilities of a permanent Chief, and providing oversight until a new Chief is named.