OCEANSIDE — The city of Oceanside on June 21 appointed David Parsons to lead the Oceanside Fire Department and replace outgoing Fire Chief Rick Robinson, who announced plans to retire and run for the City Council.
Parsons has been in the fire service for 27 years, serving more than two decades in Oceanside.
Originally from Arizona, Parsons moved with his wife to San Diego County to be closer to her family and raise their children.
Not long after moving to the area, Parsons was hired by the Oceanside Fire Department. Since then, Parsons earned the title of “most outstanding recruit” before working his way up the ranks to serve as fire captain for 12 years.
Parsons was later promoted to division chief of community risk reduction, holds the title of fire marshall and previously served as both acting fire chief and acting deputy fire chief.
Parsons has a bachelor’s degree in health services and a master’s degree in emergency and disaster management. He has served as an incident commander and has also worked with a federal incident management team to wildlife deployments across the nation.
Interim City Manager Jonathan Borrego selected Parsons as the next Oceanside fire chief in late June, and he will officially take over July 30 when Robinson is scheduled to retire.
“It’s a big challenge, a big honor, and I’m humbled to have been selected to do this,” Parsons said. “When it comes right down to it, I’m really proud of and love to serve the community that I’m a part of – there’s no better feeling than just knowing you’re doing something for others.”
Parsons lives in Oceanside and enjoys spending his downtime in the harbor and downtown areas.
“It’s a good place to live, work and play in,” Parsons said about the city.
As fire chief, Parsons said he plans to serve his community, fellow firefighters and employees of the fire department.
“Everybody is an important part of the organization,” Parsons said. “Having come up through the ranks here, I know their routines and challenges… I think I can lead with empathy.”
Robinson is excited about Parsons taking over as the next fire chief. When he took over as chief in 2016, Robinson had hoped the department could further develop its talented personnel for future leadership positions like his.
“For the next many years, the city of Oceanside is going to be in great hands,” Robinson said of his replacement.
Robinson is retiring after 45 years spent in the fire service, starting his firefighter career in 1977 at the former Rincon Fire District in Escondido. He later retired as a division chief from the Orange County Fire Authority in 2013.
The following year, Robinson began working part-time for the Oceanside Fire Department. When the previous chief left two years later in 2016, Robinson jumped on the opportunity.
“It’s just been a real honor to serve the city,” Robinson said.
Robinson has been an Oceanside resident for 34 years where his children attended high school and where he currently resides with his wife.
Despite retiring for a second time, Robinson still doesn’t plan to stop serving his community as he plans to run for City Council’s District 2 seat up for grabs in the November election. Robinson has already filed his intent to run and financial documents, and plans to submit his official filing documents later in July.