Idyllwild Fire Chief Patrick Reitz in front of the fire station. Photo by JP Crumrine

Idyllwild Fire Chief Patrick Reitz has resigned. Idyllwild Fire Protection District Commission President Jerry Buchanan announced the resignation at the beginning of the commission’s March 26 meeting.

“We are sadly short one chief,” Buchanan lamented as the meeting began. “Chief Reitz tendered his resignation effective March 20 for personal reasons. 

“I thank him for many, many years of service,” Buchanan added.

No further reason has been given for the resignation. Assistant Chief Mark LaMont was appointed acting chief at the meeting.

“I’m pleased to be staying in the community and staying active,” Reitz said. “I appreciate my time with Idyllwild Fire, and the support from the community and board.

After a closed session with Reitz at the end of the Jan. 22 meeting, Buchanan announced then that Reitz would be taking time for medical reasons. 

Although Buchanan said the district would begin its search for a new chief, the scheduled closed session to discuss the recruitment process was recessed until April 10. Commissioner Rhonda Andrewson was absent for the meeting and her colleagues wanted her to participate in the search to replace Reitz.

Reitz was appointed IFPD chief in July 2012. Former Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone swore Reitz into office on Aug. 1, 2012. 

He has served as fire chief at several locations. Prior to assuming the position at Idyllwild Fire Department, he was chief for the City of Sheridan, Wyoming, fire department.

When asked if he would miss the fire service, Reitz replied, “After 32 years, this May, and 21 years as a fire chief, this was a very hard decision to make.”

He did add, “I’m not saying I’m done being a chief.”