SAN JOSE (KCBS) — The San Jose Fire Department announced the appointment of 27-year-veteran Ruben Torres as the acting fire chief on Tuesday.

Torres, who was the deputy chief, is taking over after former Chief William McDonald announced last week he was becoming the fire chief in Las Vegas.

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Torres was the longest serving member in the San Jose Fire Department and has the lowest badge number in the department. He was selected to lead the agency by San Jose City Manager Debra Figone.

“Clearly he’s greatly respected in the department. He has a long history with us. He’s one who I knew and actually Chief McDonald advised me would be able to step right in,” she said.

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McDonald, who plans to leave the second week of August, said the Las Vegas opportunity was too good to pass up.

“They have themselves positioned for really going to another level and providing service to their community. They have a dispatch service where they provide services to all their surrounding fire departments. They ride in their own ambulance service. So really in terms of looking at the future of the fire service, affordable health care, all those kinds of things, they’re very well positioned.”

McDonald is leaving the department as city leaders continue to search for a permanent replacement for Police Chief Chris Moore, who retired earlier this year. Larry Esquivel was appointed as Interim Police Chief in January.

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