HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu Fire Commission selected Acting Deputy Chief Sheldon “Kalani” Hao as the next fire chief of the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) during a special meeting on Tuesday.

The Hawaii Fire Fighter Association President Bobby Lee confirms a 6-0 vote for Hao to lead the department. Commissioner David Matlin abstained from the vote given his short period in the commission.

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Hao is a 26-year veteran of the department, and he was the association’s pick to replace retired Fire Chief Manuel Neves, who left his post in February.

“We felt at this point in time, it was time for a new direction for the HFD,” Lee said. “Chief Hao is a younger chief, younger years, very progressive, he has all the administrative skills and the heart to be the next leader for the Honolulu Fire Department, you know, to take it in a good direction into the next generation.”

In a memo to HFD personnel, Acting Fire Chief Lionel Camara said he would retire from the department effective December 30, 2021. Camara was also a contender for the position.

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Hao will transition to fire chief on January 1, 2022.