City firefighter calls it a career after 35 years


A longtime Delaware County firefighter retired last week.

The Delaware Fire Department had a send-off celebration last Thursday to commemorate the retirement of William “Bill” Anderson, who has worked at the city for more than 35 years.

Anderson said Friday that he has worked as a firefighter in the county since he first began as a volunteer at the Liberty Township Fire Department in 1976. Anderson said his father was the township fire chief at the time and said he worked there throughout college — until he was accepted at the city of Delaware’s fire department in 1981.

Anderson said he continued to volunteer for the township while working for the city until 1987 when he worked exclusively for the city.

“Fire service has been my whole life,” Anderson said.

Anderson was a fire chief at the time of his retirement.

“It’s going to be different,” Anderson said Friday. “I’ve been going to the same place for 35 years.”

Anderson said he won’t be putting the fire department down “cold turkey” and still plans to instruct the local fire departments as much as possible.

“I’m going to try and keep my hands on it in some way, shape or form,” Anderson said.

Anderson said fire service has changed in many ways in the 40 years he has worked as a firefighter.

Anderson said the job has gotten safer, thanks to improvements in safety gear and technology. Anderson said GPS has been an invaluable tool for firefighters because they no longer have to memorize where the hundreds upon hundreds of fire hydrants are in the city and which streets they are on. Anderson said Delaware has been growing so quickly in recent years that firefighters have been dispatched and wondered, “When did they put a street here?”

However, the fires have gotten more dangerous, Anderson said. Anderson explained that the materials used in more modern structures burn faster and hotter than the materials used when he first started.

Anderson said the fire departments are dispatched much more often than they used to be — for a variety of fires, alarms and other emergencies.

“We used to have 7 to 8 runs a day on an average day,” Anderson said. “Now we have 12 to 15.”

Now that he’s retired, Anderson said he plans to spend more time with his family and visit his son, Zachary, who is at the Navy station at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Anderson said Zachary also wants to be a firefighter when he leaves the Navy.

Anderson said he’ll miss his fellow firefighters most of all.

“When you are pretty much born and raised in [fire service], you know everyone,” Anderson said. “You end up with a complete second family. I’ve worked with some of the best and most dedicated firefighters.”

Anderson Courtesy photo | William Anderson

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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