(See story below from the Vallejo Times-Herald)
Benicia Fire Chief Jim Lydon is leaving Benicia. Jim’s the guy who stood up for Valero Crude by Rail, and who hedged – publicly and on the record – claiming that oil train explosions are not “left to burn themselves out.” He seemed to think that mobilizing and evacuating folks and setting up perimeters and throwing water on nearby tank cars to keep more cars from exploding, etc. – was reason enough to dispute the widely understood knowledge that first responders to oil train explosions are REQUIRED to keep a safe distance from the burning cars, letting them burn for days until they burn themselves out. His disingenuous comments during hearings was one of the lowest moments in my 3-year opposition. I’ve tried to be forgiving, understanding how tough the firefighters’ jobs are when facing disasters, and how a Chief must stand up for his crew. But Lydon’s blind support for Valero’s proposal was in stark contrast to public comments by Fire Chief Jim Appleton in Mosier Oregon following the derailment and explosion there. The Benicia Independent wishes Jim and the people of Coronado well, but we hope for an impartial understanding of public safety issues in the next Chief here in Benicia. – RS
Benicia fire chief leaving department for CoronadoVallejo Times-Herald, by Katy St. Clair, 09/07/17, 4:37 PM PDT
BENICIA > > Fire Chief Jim Lydon will be leaving Benicia and heading down to Coronado to lead the fire department of the suburb of San Diego, he confirmed.
Lydon has over 40 years of experience but served Benicia for four years, where he often wore several hats, including interim city manager for a bit.
Lydon was also in charge of coordinating the town’s emergency response during the Valero flaring that began on May 5 of this year.
According to reports, Lydon underwent a rigorous hiring process and beat out 47 other candidates. His last day will be October 6 and his new job begins on October 10, he said.
“Benicia’s been a great opportunity for me and I think I’ve learned a lot through the process of being here,” he said. “I’m certainly going to miss some of the contacts and relationships that I’ve built here, but it’s time for new challenges and new opportunities.”
Lydon said that the City Manager hasn’t yet determined who will take his place until a permanent chief is hired.