• 61°

Former city firefighter hangs up his fire hose

Riedel hung up his helmet this year after 30 years of service with the Ironton Fire Department.

Friday, August 06, 1999

Riedel hung up his helmet this year after 30 years of service with the Ironton Fire Department.

Firefighters honored his service with a plaque and the cake, which came complete with an icing-created scene of Riedel fighting the Anderson’s fire several years ago.

Riedel, 52, began his career Feb. 3, 1969, after a tour of duty in Vietnam.

"I thought I’d like to do something where I could help people out," he said. "I got in and it stuck."

Countless fires, sometimes as many as 300 per year, put Riedel through his paces. He rose through the ranks and recently served a brief time as interim fire chief.

He worked a construction job in between his 24-hour on duty sessions, but gave that up about three years ago.

Memories of nearly out-of-control blazes and winter nights where crews had to break ice off hoses and trucks linger but the difficult times were worth it, Riedel said.

"It’s like anything else You learn to grin and bear it and go home smelly," he said. "But Ironton as a whole is a lot more aware of fire safety today."

Firefighters have seen fewer fires in recent years, too, he added.

"And they’re starting to come along in the city with help for equipment," Riedel said, referring to the recent purchase of a new ladder truck and plans for a new fire station.

Although Riedel will not get to use some of that equipment now that he’s retired, there are no regrets about leaving, he said.

"I make a good house husband she says," he said, winking at his wife, Jean.

Riedel plans to spend time with his sons, Chuck and Joshua, and his daughter, Jami McGuire of Virginia Beach, Va., during his retirement.

Joshua, 12, and Riedel have already tossed a few fishing lines in area lakes, and have taken in a few all-terrain vehicle rides.

"I’m at the point I don’t want to do it anymore, but I’m grateful for having had the chance," Riedel said. "Now I want to spend some time with Joshua."