Late fire chief lauded by fire commission

LIHUE — Kauai Fire Commissioner Dan Brown credits former Kauai Fire Chief Damien Victorino with bringing the Kauai Fire Department into the 21st century.

“He worked hard and lobbied hard for both his men and the department,” said Jessie Fukushima, Kauai fire commissioner on Tuesday during the Kauai Fire Commission meeting. “He worked with all of the men, not just in Kapaa, and his efforts set the stage for the Kauai Fire Department of today.”

The Kauai Fire Commission, during its regularly scheduled meeting, presented a resolution recognizing the late Victorino’s efforts to his family, the resolution being accepted by the chief’s widow, Elizabeth and her family.

“I worked for and under him for more than 20 years,” Brown said. “It was very enjoyable. Morale was high and he got the department new training and new equipment to get us into the 21st century.”

Born on May 1, 1939, Damien was the son of Alfred and Elsie Victorino of Kapaa.

Following his graduation from Kapaa High School, Damien entered the military, returning to Kauai where he joined the fire department in 1970, states the resolution.

Starting out as a fire apparatus operator, Damien was later promoted to lieutenant, captain, and after nearly 15 years, was appointed as chief by the late, former Mayor Tony Kunimura in 1985.

Damien retired as chief in 1988 following 18 years of service.

In 1995, Damien was called on to serve on the County’s Civil Service Commission for a five-year term, where his knowledge as a former employee of the KFD helped the commission achieve its goals.

Damien Victorino passed away on Aug. 3 at the age of 75.

“He was a political animal,” said Eugene Jimenez, taking a different approach to Damien. “We could always count on a cow, or two, during Kunimura’s campaign.”

Kauai Fire Commission Chair Jimmy Miranda said presenting the resolution to Damien’s family was a special day for the Kauai Fire Commission.

“It is a special day for us, too,” Elizabeth Victorino said. “We really appreciate knowing how much his work helped everyone.”

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