Wednesday, April 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Battalion chief retires after 30-year career

bartoli 9_6_13

Battalion Chief Rob Bartoli is retiring from the Fairfield Fire Department. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A5 | September 08, 2013 | 8 Comments

FAIRFIELD — The fire department is losing a leader.

Station 37 Battalion Chief Rob Bartoli, 52, will retire Sunday after a 30-year career in public service and firefighting. He worked his last day at Station 37 Friday.

“What an amazing journey,” Bartoli said.

Hired in 1983 as a public safety officer, Bartoli worked his way up to chief. He was incident commander of the six-alarm fire at the Macro Plastics manufacturing plant in July 2011 and worked a 7-alarm vegetation fire on Nelson Hill in Cordelia two weeks later.

In August 2008, Bartoli saw an 8-alarm blaze destroy 200 vacant, abandoned homes at Travis Air Force Base. Much of the domestic water was turned off, said Bartoli, and firefighters eventually lost count of the dozens of homes that succumbed to the fire.

“It just burned and burned,” Bartoli said.

After Hurricane Katrina, Bartoli was deployed to the Gulf Coast in 2005 to set up disaster recovery centers. Fire crews helped FEMA evacuate victims while distributing food and clothes, he said.

“That was an interesting experience,” Bartoli said.

Bartoli also went to Southern California in 2003 to work the Cedar and Mendoza fires – both serious, significant fires where firefighters were lost, he said.

“He definitely brings a lot of experience, history that we’re losing,” said Fairfield Fire Chief Tony Velasquez.

Bartoli said a highlight at the fire department was being named 2001 Firefighter of the Year by his peers.

“That was awesome,” he said.

In retirement, Bartoli said he plans to stay active and hopefully teach or get his pilot’s license.

Reach Adrienne Harris at 427-6956 or aharris@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aharrisdr.

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne Harris

Adrienne joined the Daily Republic in September 2009 as a copy editor and reports on the weekends. She earned her journalism degree at the University of Florida in 2005 and has worked at newspapers in Fort Pierce, Fla.; Las Cruces, N.M.; and El Paso, Texas. She currently lives in Oakland.
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Discussion | 8 comments

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  • Let's retire @ 52September 07, 2013 - 8:12 pm

    Another Calpers $100,000 clubmember! Retire at 52, spend the day at the beach, and have a couple drinks with those tiny unbrella's in them! Ah...life is good! Now Fairfield residents, Aren't you happy we all agreed to raise our taxes?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mike mikeSeptember 08, 2013 - 12:37 am

    Congrats to Chief Bartoli. BTW "let's retire at 52" how old do you want your firefighters and cops to be? I for one do not want 60 year old firemen and cops trying to protect or help me.....Congrats again!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Bill of RightsSeptember 08, 2013 - 2:03 am

    This statement wreaks of jealousy! Congratulations Chief Bartoli for making it a full career. Enjoy your well deserved retirement.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • TylerSeptember 08, 2013 - 10:49 am

    Actually, the comment reeks of an enlightened taxpayer who is aware of where his taxes are going and possibly a taxpayer who must defer his own retirement, maybe well into his seventies, because higher and higher taxes - going to folks like Rob Bertoli - gobble up what the dumb taxpayer would otherwise have saved. The current scheme is wrong and unsustainable and no more than an obvious symptom of CA's political corruption, a system wherein the same unions who finance the politicians' campaigns then "negotiate" with those same pols for goodies.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Bill of RightsSeptember 08, 2013 - 4:10 pm

    @ Tyler. If you want to run into burning buildings or chase down parolees who are carrying guns, you too can enjoy a nice retirement after a career. But be forewarned, jobs in the police and fire fields are not easy to come by, requiring sometimes a full year of extensive testing among hundreds of applicants to be accepted to a tedious training program. Good luck Tony, you will need it. Congrats Chief. Well deserved. Live long and healthy life!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895September 08, 2013 - 5:51 pm

    The question is not that firefighters should be able to retire, it's how much is enough? I believe police and fire in Fairfield retire at 90% of highest year after 30 years of service and reaching at least age 50. And it's not just the cost, it's also the loss of highly trained talent in their prime. If there is no incentive to stay, people retire and move on. That might be good for the retiree, but not for the City. There should be some way to keep people longer once they reach management.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Let's retire @ 52September 08, 2013 - 7:27 pm

    Look at Rob bartoli...does it look like he has been living a hard life, running into burning buildings?.. Not hardly! The guy looks nothing like the TYPICAL 52 year old private sector employee. He hardly even has any wear at all. These porker city employee who RETIRE in their early 50's are the reason municipalites are either having to cut services or hit their residents with massive tax increases just so we can have HALF of the services we had 20 years! This is the reason the fire and police unions contribute so heavily to council candidates. It's money well spent!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • archieSeptember 08, 2013 - 8:38 pm

    what the hell are you guys talking about? congrats chief.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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