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News items produced by the City of Eden Prairie Communications Division are intended for members of the news media and the community at large.

Fire Chief George Esbensen Announces Retirement

Three Decades of Service and a Commitment to Excellence

Post Date:December 19, 2018

George EsbensenOn Nov. 12, 1986, Fire Chief George Esbensen joined the ranks as a volunteer firefighter with the Eden Prairie Fire Department.

“When I began my career with the Fire Department, it was because I saw a sign looking for volunteers – I thought I would be making coffee and rolling up fire hose,” explained Esbensen. “When I showed up, I discovered that volunteer firefighters did everything, including firefighting!”

After working his way through the ranks, Esbensen became the first full-time fire chief for the City of Eden Prairie Sept. 9, 2002. Previously, the position of fire chief was a part-time role.

“There are so many memories from over the years,” said Esbensen. “Overall my favorite moments have been the time I’ve spent working side-by-side with other firefighters, helping to make bad situations a little better for people who needed us.”

Now, after nearly 32 years, Esbensen prepares to leave the Department where he spent his entire fire service career.

“Since the day I joined the Fire Department, I have been overwhelmed by the incredible dedication and drive of the firefighters who came before me, and those I served with,” reflects Esbensen. “It has been an honor and a privilege to be part of the Eden Prairie Fire Department, and to do my part to keep the organization moving positively into the future.”

Thanks for your service, Chief Esbensen. You have served the people of Eden Prairie with duty, honor and courage. You leave a legacy of excellence with the Eden Prairie Fire Department as you sign off for the final time Dec. 28, 2018.


A Message from the City Manager

We are thankful for the distinction with which Chief Esbensen has served the Fire Department and the Eden Prairie community over his 32-year career, and we wish him well in his retirement from the fire service.

The City has begun the process of hiring the next Fire Chief, and as Chief Esbensen retires, Building Inspections Manager Kevin Schmieg will serve as interim fire chief.

Schmieg has worked for the City of Eden Prairie for 35 years, serving in the Building Inspections Division. Kevin also served as Lieutenant with the Waconia Fire Department where he was a firefighter for more than 13 years. His extensive management experience, combined with his background in the fire service, make him highly qualified to lead the Eden Prairie Fire Department until the next chief is selected.

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