WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – Waco Fire Chief Gregory Summers has announced his retirement after 41 years in the fire service. Summers will leave the department at the end of the year.
Summers said in a statement he released on Tuesday that this decision was reached “with a heart full of gratitude for this incredible journey.” He served as Waco Fire Chief for the past three and a half years.
His announcement comes after the Waco Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 478 approved a no-confidence vote against Chief Summers last week. Waco City Manager Bradley Ford tells FOX 44 News the city is reviewing the vote before deciding what, if any, action is appropriate in response.
Summers did not mention the no-confidence vote in his retirement statement. Instead, he reflected on his tenure, saying he is filled with a profound sense of accomplishment. He says milestones were achieved that have not only elevated the department, but also contributed to the safety and well-being of the community.
“One of the most significant achievements during my tenure has been the efforts to increase diversity within our organization. My goal was to create a department that reflects the rich tapestry of our community, and today, I am proud to say that we went from zero women to welcoming five talented and dedicated women firefighters into our ranks. Additionally, the Waco Independent School District has expanded their Future Heroes Academy to include firefighter I, II, and EMT training. These accomplishments serve as a testament to our commitment to inclusivity and underscores the strength that arises from embracing diverse perspectives.”
Summers said that financial stewardship played a crucial role in enhancing firefighter capabilities. Through strategic planning and resource allocation, the department has invested over $15 million in new apparatus and vehicles in order to remain at the forefront of firefighting technology. Also, over $12 million in funding was secured for new fire stations to expand reach and to serve the Waco community more efficiently and effectively.
Summers says addressing the issue of cancer in the fire service has been a priority, and the department’s expanded partnership with On Duty Health for screenings stands as a beacon of hope and prevention. It helps to safeguard the health and well-being of firefighters and ensures they have the support and resources they need to lead healthy lives. Summers also says that providing a second set of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for each firefighter is a testament to our unwavering commitment to their safety.
“The organization has grown stronger with the addition of 19 firefighter positions, bolstering our operational capabilities and providing opportunities for new talent to join our ranks. This expansion has infused our department with fresh perspectives and skills, enriching the department’s collective expertise.”
Summers says that technological advancements have revolutionized Waco Fire’s operations. The implementation of the Digital Asset Tracking System, Document Management System and the purchase of the IP-Based Fire Station Alerting System have enhanced data capabilities and provided the tools and insights necessary to respond swiftly and effectively to emergencies.
“As I prepare to embark on a new chapter in life, I will leave with a sense of fulfillment and immense pride in all that has been accomplished during my tenure. The City Manager Office (CMO) has played an integral role in shaping our department into what it is today, and for that, I’ll be forever grateful. The road to continued success has been paved!”