Assistant fire chief retires after 37 years

Frederick rose through city's ranks

June 28, 2000|By Melody Holmes | Melody Holmes,SUN STAFF

From this day forward, Assistant Chief Gary Frederick's only use for a hose may likely entail watering his front lawn.

For Frederick, 59, today is the first day of his retirement from the Baltimore City Fire Department after 37 years of service.

"This is really the only job I've ever had," says Frederick, who lives in the Lauraville community.

He joined the Fire Department in 1963, as soon as he met its age requirement of 21.

Battalion Chief Hector Torres, a Fire Department spokesman, said that as a youth, Frederick was known as a "house cat," who hung around the stationhouse and ran errands for firefighters. "It was just a dream come true to have him come into the department. He rose very quickly through the ranks. He was extremely well-liked by rank and file."

About 15 years after joining the department, Frederick became a battalion chief. By 1984, he had been promoted to deputy chief, and in 1993, Frederick became the Fire Department's assistant chief.

Frederick has participated in many fire rescues, saving a number of lives. But adhering to a code of modesty, Frederick says, "That's not something I really like to talk about."

Frederick has also helped improve the department's efficiency. In 1992, he took over the committee responsible for replacing old and damaged equipment. In its eight years under his leadership, the committee replaced 26 pumpers and eight fire trucks, resulting in "a lot less mechanical difficulty," Frederick says.

Besides his work improving equipment, Frederick says he'll miss his colleagues, because they are "good people to work with; I'll miss the camaraderie."

Although Frederick's days aboard the engine are over, the family name will still be spoken around the department. Frederick's oldest son, Mark, 32, became a department dispatcher in March.

Frederick says he has no plans for travel or relocation. He has used his remaining leave to take off the last two weeks from work. "I'm just going to kick back."

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