Following Fire Chief Donna Lake’s retirement earlier this month, Kansas City Manager Brian Platt announced the appointment of Assistant Fire Chief Ross Grundyson as Interim Fire Chief on January 27.

Grundyson joined the Kansas City Fire Department (KCFD) in 1996 and moved through the ranks to Captain and Battalion Chief, before serving in his current role of Assistant Fire Chief.

Throughout Grundyson’s more than 26 years with the Kansas City Fire Department, he has played an instrumental role in the department through the COVID-19 pandemic and assisted in broadening paramedic support for residents citywide, according to the City’s announcement.

“I am proud and thankful for the opportunity to serve not only the citizens of Kansas City but my fellow Kansas City Fire Department family as well,” Grundyson said. “Our team is working every day to make a positive impact on our community on the ground. It is an honor to serve in this position while the search for a new Fire Chief is underway.”

Grundyson lives in Kansas City with his wife. They have three daughters and one granddaughter.

“I am pleased by the appointment of Mr. Grundyson, a 27-year veteran of the Kansas City Fire Department, to interim fire chief during a time when Kansas City government works to build on important progress we’ve made throughout my term as mayor, including more rapid deployment and delivery of fire and EMS services, pay increases for the women and men of our Department, and building an inclusive Fire Department reflective of our community,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. “I look forward to working with Interim Fire Chief Grundyson in service of Kansas Citians.”

Earlier this month, Donna Lake announced her retirement from the Kansas City Fire Department after more than 30 years of service. Lake is the first female Fire Chief in the history of Kansas City. She was appointed by former City Manager Troy Schulte in November of 2019.

“Local 42 has enjoyed a collaborative and productive relationship with Chief Lake and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors,” said Daniel Heizman, President of the International Association of Firefighters Local 42 said. “Her leadership through one of the most challenging periods in the history of the Kansas City Fire Department has been invaluable.  Our Local and its membership look forward to continuing and building upon that relationship with Interim Chief Ross Grundyson.”

Grundyson’s dedicated service to KCFD, Local 42’s members and the community has earned him a reputation of integrity and respect, Heizman continued. The Local is excited about his appointment and has the utmost confidence in his ability to lead the department forward until a worthy successor has been selected.

The City of Kansas City will conduct a nationwide search for the next Kansas City Fire Chief. While Assistant Chief Ross Grundyson will hold the position of Interim Fire Chief, he will not be in the running for the permanent Chief position. More details on the search are forthcoming.