Meet the Chiefs
Wolfgang Knabe, Fire Chief
Wolfgang “Wolf” Knabe became the City of Brea’s Fire Chief on May 3, 2011, when the Brea and Fullerton City Councils approved a Shared Fire Command Agreement between the two cities.
Chief Knabe has served the City of Fullerton’s since July of 2005. Prior to that, he was Fire Chief for the San Luis Obispo City Fire Department for three years. He started his fire service career with the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) after a tour of duty with the Marine Corps. He served for 22 years in Los Angeles, working his way up the ranks to the position of Battalion Chief. Chief Knabe has served in the fire service profession for over 30 years.
He holds both a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management and a Master of Science degree in Public Administration from California State University, Northridge. He is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.
Chief Knabe is a member of the California Fire Chief’s Association, California State Firefighters’ Association, Orange County Fire Chiefs’ Association, and a board member of Crittenton Services. He was also a Reserve Police Officer with the LAPD for 16 years, the last seven of which were assigned to the department’s SWAT team as well as a Reserve Police Officer with the La Habra Police Department.
Adam Loeser, Deputy Chief - Operations
Adam Loeser is the current the Deputy Chief of Operations for the Brea and Fullerton Fire Departments and has served in this capacity since 2015. He is a member of the Brea/Fullerton Consolidated Command Staff which manages 10 fires stations covering 35 square miles with 125 personnel. Together both departments responded to 20,000 calls in 2017. Adam has a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of Hawaii and is CA State Chief Officer qualified. He has been married to his wife for 20 years and has two incredible daughters. Adam and his family live in Mission Viejo, CA.
Kathy Schaefer, Division Chief - Fire Marshal/Public Information Officer
Division Chief Kathy Schaefer began her career with the Brea Fire Department in May of 1990. She became a paramedic in 1995 and worked as a Firefighter/Paramedic until promoted to Captain in December of 2000. In July of 2015, Chief Schaefer was promoted to Battalion Chief. Just over a year later, she was chosen for the position of Division Chief of Administration/Fire Marshal for both Fullerton and Brea Fire Departments where she is currently overseeing the staff in both bureaus. On a personal note, Chief Schaefer has been married for 24 years and has both a son and daughter in college. Her hobbies include tennis, competing in Spartan races, boot camp, crafting, skiing and spending time at Lake Nacimiento in Paso Robles.
Chris Nigg, Division Chief - Support Services
Division Chief Chris Nigg has been in the fire service professionally for 15 years. He started his career with the San Bernardino City Fire Department and has been with the Fullerton Fire Department for the past 3 1/2 years. Prior to promoting to the Chief ranks, his specialties were truck company operations, department training, urban search &rescue specialties, aircraft rescue and firefighting. Chief Nigg has a Bachelor's Degree from Arizona State University and by the end of the year, he will have a Masters Degree in Emergency Services Administration from California State University, Long Beach. In his current role as Division Chief of Logistics and Support Services, he is the oversight for the EMS program, Brea EOC, all station and apparatus purchasing and maintenance, other miscellaneous department facilities, safety equipment, mapping, department technologies and command staff incident support during significant incidents and large scale emergencies.
Jamie Newton, Division Chief - Training
Division Chief Jamie Newton began his fire service career in 1990 for San Diego County Fire Department. In 1994, he was hired by the Fullerton Fire Department. Four years later, he became a Paramedic/Firefighter and then was subsequently promoted to Engineer, Captain and then to Battalion Chief. In December of 2017, he was promoted to Division Chief of Training. He has been married to his lovely wife Denise for the last twenty four years. They have three daughters who are all currently attending college out of state.
Brandon Coatney, Battalion Chief/A Shift
Battalion Chief Brandon Coatney started his career in April of 1997 with the City of San Bernardino Fire Department as a Firefighter/Paramedic. He was promoted to the rank of Engineer in 2004 and to the rank of Fire Captain in 2011. In 2015, he accepted a lateral Fire Captain position with the Fullerton Fire Department. He was promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief in August of 2016. Currently, he is assigned as the A-Shift Battalion Chief for the Fullerton and Brea Fire Departments. He has been married to his beautiful wife for 19 years and have two children together. Their daughter graduated high school in 2018 and is attending nursing school at Riverside Community College. Their son is 16 and is a junior in high school. He enjoys spending as much time with his family as possible, off-roading, and spending time at the lake or river.