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Worcester Fire Chief Gardell Announces Retirement

For Immediate Release: 12/13/2016 8:54 am

Worcester, MA (December 12, 2016) - City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. announced Monday that Fire Chief Geoffrey Gardell has informed the City he will retire from the department at the end of January.

Chief Gardell was appointed Fire Chief in the summer of 2015. At the time, he informed City Manager Augustus he planned to stay for 12-18 months.

The City will follow the Massachusetts civil service process in selecting a new fire chief. Internal candidates for the position have already taken a written exam and gone through an assessment center evaluation. The state Civil Service Commission has the results of those evaluations, and is expected to provide the City with a list of candidates this month.

Gardell, a native of Great Brook Valley and lower Vernon Hill, has been with the Department since 1984. He has served in a variety of roles, including on the SCUBA Team and the Tech Rescue Team. While serving as Captain of Heavy Rescue 1, Gardell was one of three firefighters named Massachusetts Firefighters of the Year for their efforts in a heroic rescue.

"Chief Gardell is a longtime servant of the people of Worcester and the Worcester Fire Department, and I want to thank him for his decades of dedication to this community," said City Manager Augustus. "I'm proud to have been able to work with the Chief on a number of important safety and deferred maintenance issues, to provide the Worcester Fire Department with the support and equipment they need to keep us safe."

Before becoming chief, Gardell was a deputy chief in charge of administration and support. He also served as the Department's public information officer, handling news inquiries and communicating vital information to the public.

"It's been my honor and privilege to lead the men and women of the Worcester Fire Department and to serve the citizens of the City of Worcester for 33 years in my many roles leading up to and including Chief," said Chief Gardell.

Gardell's time as chief was marked by significant improvements to the equipment and infrastructure that help the Worcester Fire Department protect our city. During his tenure, the Worcester Fire Department:

  • Added two recruit classes, totaling 55 new firefighters within the same year.
  • Added two new fire engines, with one additional engine and a new heavy rescue to be delivered this spring.
  • Purchased new turnout gear so that every WFD firefighter has two sets of gear for cancer prevention.
  • Budgeted and have hired another mechanic for the maintenance division to ensure timely repairs to apparatus.
  • Replaced standard portable radios with the safer firefighter design model.
  • Received funding from the Leary foundation five new thermal imager cameras and other training.
  • Worked with the city administration to procure HUD funds for multiple fire station rehabilitation projects.

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