WALLINGFORD— After 14 years as the town’s fire chief and 27 years of employment with the Wallingford Fire Department, Fire Chief Peter Struble is retiring to take a full-time teaching job at the University of New Haven.
The announcement came at a press conference held at Town Hall on Wednesday morning.
“It’s a great day in some sense and a difficult day in another sense,” Mayor William W. Dickinson said. The mayor was visibly emotional as he relayed the news to a group of fire department officers who gathered at Town Hall for the announcement.
Struble, 51, was also emotional as he spoke, explaining that his retirement would be effective Dec. 19. His last work day will be Dec. 12. He has accepted a faculty position at UNH within the Fire Science Department “to oversee and develop a new program in para-medicine.”
“I have been blessed to be Wallingford’s fire chief for the last 14 years,” he said. “The opportunity to work in public service for my hometown is truly one of life’s gifts. My love of the fire department is only surpassed by my love for my family. The men and women of the Wallingford Fire Department are the best in the country and I am certain I am leaving the department in capable hands.”
In total, Struble has worked as a career and volunteer firefighter for 35 years. Once Struble retires, Deputy Chief Rich Heidgerd will serve as acting-chief, Dickinson said. The department will go through a selection process to find the next fire chief.
“The example set by Chief Struble is going to dominate the landscape,” Dickinson said.