TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The Toledo Fire Department will be saying goodbye to Chief Luis Santiago.
This is coming as a shock to some in the department, fire leaders said that many didn't know the chief was announcing his retirement until this morning.
"He's done a lot of great things for this department, I've been on the job for 18 years and I've gotten to see some of those things," said Toledo Fire spokesperson, Sterling Rahe.
Rahe also said that the Chief has made strides that he hopes will last a long time.
"There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes, that the public and even the fire department, the firefighters in our department don't see, and he is a big part of that," Rahe said. "We've been talking a lot about the cancer prevention, and he has a integral part in that, making sure all firefighters have two sets of gear, just things that he has done."
In the meantime, Rahe said that the service Toledo firefighters provide for you won't miss a beat.
"We will continue to make runs, we will continue to respond to emergencies, our daily business continues on," Rahe said.
The chief's official retirement date is August 3rd.
He began his career with the Toledo Fire & Rescue Department in 1984.
Chief Santiago advanced his career many times while at the department; he was promoted to lieutenant in 1988, captain in 1993, battalion chief in 2000 and deputy/assistant chief in 2007 before becoming chief in 2011.
Under his leadership, the department remains one of the few Nationally Accredited Departments in the United States. The department also received the prestigious ISO rating of 1 in 2017.
Also in 2017, TFRD responded to more than 60,000 incidents, the first time the department exceeded 60,000 runs in one calendar year.
Arson related arrests also increased by 57% in 2017 from 2016 due to the work by the Fire Investigation Unit under Chief Santiago's supervision.
"Chief Santiago has dutifully and honorably served the people of Toledo for more than three decades, and he has admirably led the Fire and Rescue Department since 2011," said Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz. "I wants to publically thank him for his bravery as a firefighter, his service to the people of Toledo and for the advances made by the department under his leadership."
Chief Santiago holds multiple certificates from FEMA's National Incident Management System and the United States Coast Guard. He also has received extensive training at the National Fire Academy.
Chief Santiago is a member of or has served with many organizations, including:
- The Lucas County Fire Chiefs
- The Ohio Fire Chiefs Association
- The International Association of Fire Chiefs
- The Toledo Zoo Foundation Board
- The Toledo Fire Museum Board
- The Advisory Board of the State Fire School of Bowling Green State University
- The Board of Trustees of Knight Academy
He is also a founding board member of the Toledo Fire & Rescue Foundation, a former trustee of the Toledo Firefighter Health Plan and was an assistant football coach for St. Francis High School for 26 years.
"It's been a privilege leading this great department, which is full of talented and dedicated men and women," said Chief Santiago. "It is and was truly and honor serving as fire chief. I wish nothing but the best for the department and the city of Toledo."