The chief is set to re­tire in Fe­bru­ary

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Post [email protected]­i­tal­first­ Re­porter


>> 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.

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