KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Fire Chief Donna Lake announced Tuesday her retirement from the fire department after more than 30 years of service.

Lake was the first female fire chief in Kansas City history. She was appointed by former City Manager Troy Schulte in November of 2019.

“Serving the residents of Kansas City for 30 and ½ years has brought me great joy,” Lake said Tuesday in a letter thanking her staff. “However, serving each of you through leading the department is even more joyous as it enabled each and every one of you to serve our City better. There are just no words to describe how proud I am of how much we’ve grown as a premier emergency medical and fire suppression service in this time. Each one of you has played a significant part in that. You made it easy for me to be fire chief.”

Lake started with the department in 1992 and moved through the ranks from firefighter to assistant fire chief.

Mayor Quinton Lucas said Lake has shown incredible leadership and passion for public safety over the past 30 years.

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“As the first woman to lead the Department, Chief Lake is a trailblazer and inspiration for women, showing them, they too can aspire to lead in public safety,” Lucas said. “During the pandemic and after, Chief Lake worked to find solutions for better representation, recruitment, and retention, and ensured our firefighters are taken care of to best serve our community. We will miss Chief Lake and wish her well in the future. I look forward to working with our leadership to ensure strong management for the best interest of our firefighters, paramedics, and community.”

“We are forever grateful for her service and dedication to our city,” City Manager Brian Platt said. “We intend to pursue a national search for a replacement for Chief Lake.”

Lake’s retirement will go into effect Jan. 27, 2023. An interim Fire Chief will be selected and a search will begin for the next fire chief of Kansas City.