FIRE CHIEF WILLIAMS SET TO RETIRE
The chief is set to retire in February
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.
>> Longtime Saratoga Springs Fire Chief Robert Williams has announced his retirement, effective Feb. 28, 2019.
Williams joined the department on June 23, 1984, and worked his way up through the ranks, serving as chief since 2009.
Born and raised in the Spa City, he is a third-generation Saratoga Springs firefighter, starting with his grandfather, Thomas J. Williams Sr., whose son, Thomas J. Williams Jr., was also fire chief.
“I have been honored to serve as [a] member and most recently the fire chief for the Saratoga Springs Fire Department,” Williams said. “It was my dream, as a child, to follow in the footsteps of my father, grandfather, and join the Saratoga Springs Fire Department. I am thankful for the opportunity and everything the city has provided me and my family throughout my career.”
“In my view, the Saratoga Springs Fire Department is one of the finest fire and EMS service organizations in the country, and I am honored to say that I have been a part of our shared success,” he said. “I am confident that the department will continue to exceed the expectations of, and do amazing work for our community.”
Commissioner of Public Safety Peter Martin will conduct interviews of eligible candidates and announce the appointment of a new chief a future
City Council meeting. The newly appointed chief will work alongside Williams as the department transitions to a new leader, until Williams’ departure.
“The city is going to miss the chief tremendously,” Martin said. “He is a popular figure throughout our city and has certainly advanced our fire, EMS and fire prevention programs into a 21st-century service. Bob has a tremendous ability to focus on details and develop broad-ranging plans for improved fire and health safety in our city. Every public safety commissioner who has served since chief Williams joined the force has benefited from his knowledge and work ethic. “
Williams has been president of the Saratoga Springs Fire Administrative Officers and Fire Fighters Association, Local 343. He’s a member of the New York State Fire Chiefs and Career Fire Chiefs Associations and is a state fire instructor and municipal training officer.
Also, he’s a former member of the NY-TF 2 Urban Search and Rescue team as a rescue tech specialist and deployed to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack in New York City. He also serves on the City of Saratoga Springs Safety Committee and Saratoga County Local Emergency Planning Committee.
Williams is a recognized fire service leader and has realized many accomplishments throughout his career. This includes developing key strategies and implementation of emergency medical and hazardous materials services, as well as firefighter safety and wellness programs.
During his tenure as chief, Williams improved the response readiness and deployment of fire and EMS resources; oversaw several major infrastructure and improvement projects; helped secure SAFER grant funding for hiring back firefighters who were laid off in 2010; improved the department’s records management and communications systems; and served as emergency management incident commander when the city declared a state of emergency following the lightning strike on City Hall in August 2018.
In addition, Williams greatly improved the functionality of the Fire Prevention Division, enhancing efficiency and connectivity with the business community and other city departments. He implemented, the Company Fire Inspection Program in response to the closing of the Fire Prevention office in 2010, which allows engine crews to perform fire inspections.
In 2019, the fire department will begin to oversee all fire prevention and code enforcement for the city.
In retirement, Williams plans to spend more time with family and friends and do a great deal of traveling. He will continue to instruct firefighters in his capacity as a state fire instructor and make himself available for volunteer activities.
Saratoga Springs Fire Department Chief Robert Williams has announced his retirement effective Feb. 28, 2018.
City of Saratoga Springs Fire Chief Robert Williams and Assistant Fire Chief Pete Shaw explain how the fire traveled through a building in 2015.