Anchorage fire chief resigns, will be replaced by ex-chief

Nathaniel Herz

Anchorage Fire Chief Chris Bushue is stepping down next month, Mayor Dan Sullivan announced Thursday afternoon.

Bushue requested a transfer to a lower-ranking battalion chief job after two years in the department's top role. He said in a brief interview Thursday that he wanted to spend more time with his family, and that the chief's position had place heavy demands on his time.

"I'm never more than an arm's reach from my phone. It doesn't matter if I'm on vacation or wherever it is -- it's a constant barrage," he said, adding that he had been aware of the time commitment before accepting the job.

Former fire chief John Fullenwider will replace Bushue, effective May 12. Fullenwider led the Anchorage Fire Department from 2000 until his retirement 2006, after first being appointed by Mayor George Wuerch and reappointed in 2003 by Mayor Mark Begich.

Bushue said that his move had nothing to do with a $1.8 million request by the Sullivan administration in January to cover an overrun in his department's overtime budget.

"I knew people were going to make that assumption," Bushue said. "That really wasn't a factor at all."

Sullivan, in a prepared statement, added: "Chief Bushue has been an incredible asset and administrator for over 25 years. I'm confident that he will continue to serve the department well."

Reach Nathaniel Herz at or 257-4311.