Area fire official retires after more than 4 decades

A Miami Valley Fire District official with more than four decades of experience recently called it a career.

Steve Meadows retired late last month after 41 years in the fire department, first with the Miamisburg Fire Department, where he ascended in 1994 from a line firefighter/parademic to the rank of lieutenant and then eventually to captain, and then as battalion chief with Miami Valley Fire District after the city and Miami Twp. merged into the newly formed entity.

Meadows, 63, said he got into the fire department at 22 years old because his brother had already done so.

“I saw what he did and it just kind of lit a spark in me,” he said.

The difference between the way things were when he started in 1980 and the way things are today is “huge,” Meadows said.

“The number of personnel when I first started was six people per shift, so we had 18 line firefighter/paramedics,” he said. “Now, we’re not at full roster, but we should be at 60. Two station (then), now five stations. Call load went from .. probably about 4,000 calls a year, max, (but) usually less than 4,000 calls a year. We’re pushing 10,000 calls a year now.”

Meadows said he stuck with the career for more than four decades because “I just wasn’t ready to retire.”

“I enjoy the job. I never really looked forward to retirement,” he said. “I had three boys and my youngest is just now 23. I had an obligation to help him through college and he just now graduated, so having told him that I would help him through college kept me focused on staying at work.”

Meadows said part of the decision to retire was the ability to do the job compared to decades ago.

“I’m not a spring chicken and the job gets even harder, not easier, over time,” he said. “I just got to the point where my body was telling me, ‘it’s time.’”

He hopes his retirement includes visiting family, finishing projects he’s been putting off and spending more time at the lake.

Past and present colleagues and members of the community paid tribute to Meadows during an open house at Station 54 on Aug. 27.

“It was very nice,” he said. “One gentleman who showed up ... I worked with him in (my) Miamisburg days. He’s been retired for 30 years and he looks great. I hadn’t see him in years.”

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