Born in Broughty Ferry, Scotland on March 28, 1888, Kinnear immigrated to Canada in 1909 and joined the Calgary Fire Brigade the following year. He became captain in 1929 and was later appointed to assistant chief in 1946. Kinnear organized a survey with the Ottawa Fire Chief C. G. Burnett in 1949, and was appointed Chief on November 1, 1950. When Kinnear retired on March 15, 1951, he had completed the first part of the re-organization of the Calgary Fire Department. This re-organization strategy was developed as a result of the 1949 survey and was approved by city council. Chief Kinnear had devoted 41 years of his life to serving the Calgary Fire Department.