Chancellor Thanks Firefighters Who Battled Thomas Fire

Chancellor Gary S. May shakes the hand of a firefighter.
Chancellor Gary S. May greets firefighter Kyle Dubs (shaking hands) and Capt. Joe Newman before breakfast Feb. 2. The Fire Department gave the chancellor a fire helmet. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

The UC Davis Fire Department’s brand-new fire engine made its first visit to the Chancellor’s Residence last week, and no, there wasn’t an emergency. Chancellor Gary S. May and his wife, LeShelle, extended a breakfast invitation to the crew members who deployed to the Thomas Fire in Southern California for more than 14 days, arriving home just before the winter holiday.

The campus Fire Department aided communities throughout California this past year, from small-scale incidents in Yolo County, to massive fires including those that devastated Santa Rosa. The Mays were eager to hear the firefighters’ stories and expressed their sympathy for so many who lost so much during last year’s devastating fires.

Here's who went to the Thomas Fire, Dec. 5-20: Joe Newman, captain; Kyle Dubs, engineer; and Lindsey Dubs and Ryan Tooley, firefighters. Lindsey Dubs was unable to attend the breakfast last Friday (Feb. 2).

The new Engine 34 will spend the next 20 years in service to our campus, delivering our career and student firefighters to scenes where Chief Nate Trauernicht stressed that firefighters’ No. 1 priority is “to make a bad situation better for anyone in our community; our sole mission is to help.”


The Fire Department is currently recruiting for its Student Firefighter Program, in which students not only train and go out on real calls, but live at the campus fire station. Read more about the program.

This week the Fire Department named its firefighter, student firefighter and student EMT of the year. Read more.

The crew discussed with the chancellor a number of significant initiatives underway, including the department’s goal to become the first internationally accredited university fire department, completion of the department’s new strategic plan, developing student firefighters and student emergency medical technicians who work alongside career staff, and migration to a new dispatch center that will help the department respond to calls with the most appropriate resources based on risk.

The chancellor was certainly appreciative of the crew’s commitment to keeping people safe in our community and beyond — as well as for a ride in the new fire engine, taking a spin around his College Park neighborhood.

Group poses with fire engine.
Eleven breakfast guests, including the new fire engine! From left: firefighter Kyle Dubs, Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Seaton, Chancellor Gary S. May, Fire Chief Nate Trauernicht, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter, Vice Chancellor Kelly Ratliff, LeShelle May, Capt. Joe Newman, firefighter Ryan Tooley and Assistant Fire Chief Nathaniel Hartinger. (Grant Nejedlo/UC Davis)

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