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Ventura, Lonokailua-Hewett in running for fire chief

Decision open to public testimony Sept. 8, selection set for Sept. 10

Deputy Fire Chief Brad Ventura is one of two candidates being considered in the search for fire chief. The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photo

Deputy Fire Chief Brad Ventura and retired Battalion Chief Amos Lonokailua-Hewett are vying for the position of fire chief.

The two were announced as candidates for the job at an online meeting Monday of the Maui County Fire and Public Safety Commission.

Members of the public will have an opportunity to provide testimony about Ventura and Lonokailua-Hewett at a commission meeting at 10 a.m. Sept. 8, said Commission Chairman Kyle Ginoza. The meeting will be online.

“It affords the public an opportunity to give us testimony as we embark on the interview process,” Ginoza said.

He said the commission will interview the candidates the morning of Sept. 10, followed by a vote to select the fire chief at 2 p.m. the same day.

Retired Battalion Chief Amos Lonokailua-Hewett, pictured in 2018, is one of two finalists for fire chief. The Maui News / COLLEEN UECHI photo

Ventura, a veteran of more than 19 years in the Fire Department, has served as deputy chief for the past three years. He started his fire career in 2002 at the Kahului Fire Station before being promoted to firefighter II in 2007 and working on a Kahului rescue crew. In 2011, he was promoted to firefighter III and was assigned to the Health and Safety Bureau, then worked as a driver for Ladder 3 in Lahaina, before joining the hazmat crew in Kahului. He was promoted to captain in 2015 and worked in Napili.

He is a 1993 graduate of Baldwin High School and has a degree in public administration from Hawaii Pacific University.

His father, Conrad Ventura, retired in 1997 as an assistant chief, the equivalent of a battalion chief today.

Lonokailua-Hewett retired as a battalion chief in 2019 after 25 years with the Fire Department. After joining the Fire Department in 1994, he worked at fire stations in Kihei, Lahaina, Wailuku, Kahului and Paia. He was promoted to battalion chief in 2013 and was in the position in August 2018 when firefighters worked to protect homes while battling three large fires from Maalaea to Kaanapali in West Maui.

The commission is searching for a new fire chief after Chief David Thyne retired July 1 after nearly 34 years of service.

Ginoza said the commission received four applications for the job, including from a Mainland applicant who didn’t meet residency requirements. Another qualified applicant said he was no longer interested because he took another position, Ginoza said.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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