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Cal City names White interim fire chief

Ryder White becomes interim fire chief one week after Cal City fired its fire chief
Posted at 10:36 PM, Apr 04, 2024

CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. (KERO) — Ryder White excited to start as Cal City interim fire chief; he says he intends to become the city's permanent fire chief

  • Ryder White says he wanted to become a firefighter because as a kid he looked up to his stepfather Leroy Rice, a former Kern County fire captain
  • White grew up in Tehachapi, where he played football for the high school; he also played football at Bakersfield College before serving as a U.S. Marine for more than 20 years.
  • White says he intends to become Cal City's permanent fire chief


Cal City is turning the page when it comes to leadership for its fire department. Ryder White was sworn in as interim fire chief on Wednesday afternoon. I'm Steve Virgen your neighborhood reporter. For White, it was like a dream come true.

“I was raised by a single mom. And she remarried when I was a little guy. Six. He was my hero. And he retired as a Kern County fire captain, a dozer operator, 33 years service. Just the absolute epitome of a gentleman.”

That’s Ryder White talking about his stepfather, Leroy Rice and why he wanted to become a firefighter. White grew up in Tehachapi. He played football at the high school and at Bakersfield College. He says he then served for more than 20 years as a U.S. marine. and later worked as a Kern County firefighter.

“It’s going to be a big task. I am here for my leadership. And I look forward to the challenge,” White said.

White takes over for Jeremy Kosick, who was fired as fire chief last week. He had been with the Cal City Fire Department for more than 20 years. Cal City did not provide the cause, but said cuts must be made due to fiscal issues that include the special tax vote failing last month.

Virgen: "Is it your plan that you want to become the permanent fire chief?"

White: “If afforded the opportunity to do so, I’d gladly take it.”

White’s contract will be up for approval during Tuesday’s council meeting. He’s set to make $140,000 per year, according to Cal City acting city manager Latisha Lamberth. She adds that Cal City is not pursuing a permanent fire chief at this time.

“When their day ends, my day begins. And I’m always available for those men," White said.

As of Thursday morning, Ryder had yet to meet the Cal City firefighters and said he was excited to do so. I'm Steve Virgen, your neighborhood reporter.

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