Battalion Chief Mike Gallagher completed his last shift this week with the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District, retiring after 35 years of service.
Chief Gallagher has spent time as a hazmat specialist, worked on ocean rescue teams and served as a battalion chief. But he said his time as a strike team leader, where he worked closely with troops in tough conditions and put in long hours, was the most impactful.
“I have been blessed to work with the most incredible, hard-working, dedicated group of firefighters, volunteers, part-timers and career professionals throughout my career. Any successes I’ve had are due to them,” Chief Gallagher said. “Everything I’ve done in my 35-year career has been part of a team effort. I am humbled and honored to be part of such a team.”
“I walk away from this career with a sense of humility and immense appreciation to be able to call myself a firefighter alongside them,” Chief Gallagher said.
After studying at UCSB, Chief Gallagher lived in Lake Tahoe, where he volunteered with the Squaw Valley Fire Department while also working for the U.S. Forest Service at the Truckee Ranger District. He was eventually hired as a firefighter and engineer with the Squaw Valley department, working his way up to lieutenant and captain.
From there, Chief Gallagher went to work for the Cambria Fire Department, gaining operational experience near the beach. He served as the department’s captain before landing what he considered his dream job with the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District, where he’s been for the past 10 years.
“‘Sweet Mikey G’ has left his mark on CSFD and will be sorely missed,” the district said in social media posts.