Maui Fire Department welcomes new leadership as crews pull through trying time

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Maui Fire Department’s new leadership was sworn in Tuesday.

David Thyne was sworn in as the department’s new fire chief. He was formerly assistant fire chief and has been with the department for more than 30 years.

He was selected by the county Fire and Public Safety Commission after an interview process among four finalists.

“I have had the good fortune of learning from two of the longest serving fire chiefs in the history of our department,” Thyne said. “As an assistant chief under Chiefs Murray and Shimada, I was able to serve with them to enhance our operational capabilities and training of our members. I will hope to build on their successes and keep the department moving in a positive direction.”

Thyne replaces former fire chief Jeff Murray, who retired on June 30 after 29 years with the department and 10 years as fire chief.

Capt. Brad Ventura was sworn in as deputy fire chief.

He has 16 years of experience in the department, most recently serving as captain of Engine 11 for three years.

“Our previous administration has done an excellent job getting us this far and it would be a disservice to all of the members within the Department of Fire and Public Safety and community if we did not continue the good work,” Ventura said. “I am humbled by this opportunity to serve our community.”

The department has been busy over the past several days with firefighters responding to multiple brush fires while preparing for Hurricane Lane.

Fires broke out in Maalaea, Kauaula Valley, and Kaanapali within less than 12 hours. All are now 100-percent contained.

The Kauaula Valley fire prompted the evacuation of more than 100 homes, with conditions reported to be some of the most adverse the department has faced in recent history.

“The conditions we encountered from the onset until final containment is unprecedented in our department’s history. Through valiant effort and bravery, a lot of lives and property were saved. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost as a result of this fire,” said Deputy Chief Lionel Montalvo.

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