Yakima Fire Chief retires after 30 years of service

Yakima Fire Chief retires after 30 years of service

YAKIMA, Wash. - Yakima Fire Chief Bob Stewart retired from the fire department Tuesday.

Stewart spent his whole firefighting career right here in Yakima, a total of 30 years. He was a lieutenant, shift captain, training captain, deputy chief and then became chief in June 2014.

Although he's taking many years of experience with him, Stewart said the department will get along just fine without him.

"The department is so strong and so capable that I can step away and there won't be any difference, except I'll miss it tremendously," he said.

During his time with the Yakima Fire Department, Stewart said the biggest change he noticed was safety.

He said they used to ride on the back bumper of the fire trucks and using breathing masks were only an option.

"So today we're looking at being safe," Stewart said. "So we can become part of the solution rather than to contribute further to the problem."

He said he is thankful to have served the department for 30 years and thinks the next chief needs to be sure to listen to the firefighters to be able to better serve the community.

"They need to identify funding, prioritize those needs," Stewart said. "Get those things whether it be equipment or training to equip the firefighters to carry out the mission."

Yakima City Manager Cliff Moore said the city is currently in the process of finding a new fire chief.

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