The Honolulu Fire Commission announced Tuesday that it has selected Assistant Fire Chief Kenneth Silva to become the new fire chief.
Silva will succeed Honolulu Fire Department Chief Attilio Leonardi. Leonardi was appointed in 1998. He said he planned to step down in January after 35 years of service.
Silva started with HFD in 1981. He worked up the ranks to assistant chief in 2002.
Commission officials said 13 people applied for the job. A panel including former Honolulu Police Department Chief Francis Keala, businessman Wesley Park and retired firefighter union leader Richard Perry narrowed the field to five.
The commission interviewed the remaining finalists and made their choice.
Silva will take over on Jan. 16. He will appoint a deputy to work along with him.
"I have a window of opportunity of basically eight weeks to get a crash course in Fire Chief 101," Silva said.
Silva was most recently was in charge of support services, responsible for planning, development and execution of department programs.
Preparing for modern-day threats is his top priority.
"Issues related to natural disasters. And now we have a new threat: pandemics, the Avian flu, SARS and things of that nature. We want to make sure we stay ahead of the curve on that," Silva said.