Fire Chief Bill Gaul of the Washington Township Fire Department has announced he will retire in March after nearly 40 years of service to the department, including 11 years as chief.

Washington Twp. fire chief to retire

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“We’ve been fortunate to have Chief Gaul lead our department. He’s intensely committed to the community he serves,” said Township Administrator Jesse Lightle in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “The fire department’s facilities, apparatus, staffing structure and overall level of professionalism have never been better.”

During Gaul’s tenure as chief, the department received accreditation three times and become known as a regional leader in the professional credentialing of fire staff. He also led the department’s transition to around-the-clock staffing of fire stations and oversaw a significant reduction in emergency response times. Department accomplishments took place even as the demand for emergency services increased dramatically – up 28 percent over the last five years alone.

“Nearly 40 years with one fire department is a long time,” Gaul said. “I’ve had quite a few goals during that period and I have checked them off, so I’m comfortable with where the department is today. We have a lot of good people and we have the right people in the right positions. I trust them with the future our department.”

Prior to being named chief in July 2007, Gaul served seven years as deputy chief, directing the support and operations divisions. When Gaul came on board full-time in 1984 with seven other new career firefighters, he was one of only two who were licensed paramedics.

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“I have been honored to be a part of this very professional department,” said Gaul, a graduate of Centerville High School. “I believe everyone is in it to protect the community, and they act accordingly. Our customer service surveys and levy passage show we’re dedicated to serving the community in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. We have a good team in place.”

Gaul joined the department as a volunteer firefighter in May 1979 when it was comprised mostly of volunteers responding from home. He was inspired after helping his brother, already a volunteer firefighter, respond to emergency calls that occurred near their home and also by his uncle who was a fire chief in a small northern Ohio farming community.

When Gaul came on board full-time in 1984 with seven other new career firefighters, he was one of only two who were licensed paramedics.

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