Michael P. Nirich, chief of the Watsonville Fire Department, is doing valuable work for his city and displays rare qualities as a public official. He was born at Lead, South Dakota, March 26, 1890, and is a son of Paul P. and Lucille Nirich, natives of Dalmatia. In 1895 the family came to Watsonville, and the father embarked in the fruit-packing business, with which he was connected for many years, gaining a substantial competence which now enables him to live retired, but the mother is deceased.
Michael P. Nirich was but five years old when his parents came to Watsonville and here he attended the public schools, continuing his studies in Notre Dame Academy of Watsonville soon after its establishment. He learned the plumber’s trade while in the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company and first acted as track walker between Santa Cruz and Watsonville, later filling the position of engine inspector. On severing his connection with that corporation he became agent in Watsonville for beer and soda water and was engaged in that work for six years, or until the passage of the Volstead act.
Mr. Nirich enlisted in the Second California Infantry and was sent to the Mexican border on the expedition against Villa, being stationed at Nogales, Arizona. He reentered the service at the time of the World war and in August, 1918, went overseas with the One Hundred and Fifteenth Ammunition Train, attached to the Fortieth Division, but the armistice was signed before the division was called into active service.
After receiving his honorable discharge Mr. Nirich returned to Watsonville, where he engaged in business for a time, and in June, 1924, was appointed chief of the fire department. He had previously served in the Volunteer Fire Department for fifteen years, acquiring a detailed knowledge of the work, and by concentrated effort is bringing this branch of municipal service up to a high standard of efficiency. He is faithful to the trust reposed in him, for devotion to duty is one of his salient characteristics, and his work has met with widespread approval, being directed by loyalty and public spirit.
Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California’s history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925.