Cass fire chief steps down after 28 years

Published 7:31 am Wednesday, July 29, 2009

CASSOPOLIS – Bill Fitzgerald has been a member of the Cassopolis Fire Department for 44 years.  He is stepping down as Cassopolis fire chief after 28 years.

He continues to serve the department as captain and to share his expertise and experience.

Bill has kept himself and the department current on cutting-edge fire fighting and extrication techniques. He believes in live training that will challenge firefighters to be the best they could be under intense circumstances.

Through the generous donations of local homes, junkyards and repair centers, many homes and cars of all makes and models have been destroyed in training exercises to make the firefighters better under realistic situations.

Firefighter safety has been a priority for the department and in all situations involving firefighters under the leadership of Chief Fitzgerald. Accountability, safety and fire scene organization remain top priorities for the department. Monthly inspections of apparatus and equipment provide ready-to-use equipment for whatever emergency may arise.

Bill has returned to many fire scenes to determine cause and origin of fires. He has attended many firefighting and investigations trainings through the years.

He committed himself to being a lifelong learner by serving as an understudy with various state fire inspectors at fire scenes.

Fire prevention safety programs also sparked Bill’s interest. He helped develop fire prevention safety programs that were provided by the department to schools, organizations and churches that requested help educating people about fire safety.

Fire safety information, smoke detectors and evacuation plans have been provided free of charge by the department for many years.

Preplanning of businesses and public facilities under Bill’s leadership made fire fighters and community members better prepared for safety tips, evacuation and strategies for extinguishing.

Bill has also worked closely with the Cass County Fair Board and county fire departments each summer to provide seamless fire coverage for the entire fair week.