Lewis said he’s been helping his parents in Lake Forest for a while now, going there three or four days a week, he said. In the last month or so, he said he came to the realization he couldn’t match the demands of being fire chief without making sacrifices on the personal side.
“You can only juggle things so much, and now it’s time to take care of the personal side,” he said, adding that his doctor had instructed him to work on his physical health as well. “I’m 58. I’m not getting any younger.”
Lewis was the sixth full-time fire chief in Newport Beach Fire Department history, which reaches back to 1927. He took over the department in November 2006 and has nearly 30 years of fire department experience. He took over the position from Tim Riley, who was chief for 15 years.
Under Lewis’ leadership, he opened up an eighth fire station and developed an Urban Search and Rescue Program.
Kiff was unavailable for comment on the future of the chief’s position.
Lewis said he’s staying until March 1 to tie up loose ends and prepare the department for new leadership.
With Lewis’ departure, there’s a possibility that Newport Beach will have interim chiefs for both the police and fire departments for a few months, with the interim police chief not scheduled to be replaced until July.