A ride on the Streetcar with retiring Tucson Fire Chief Jim Crit - Tucson News Now

A ride on the Streetcar with retiring Tucson Fire Chief Jim Critchley

Tucson Fire Chief Jim Critchley. (Source: Tucson News Now) Tucson Fire Chief Jim Critchley. (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Tucson Fire Chief Jim Critchley will retire before the end of the year.

The day after he notified the department, Critchley joked that there were plenty of people wanting to buy him lunch.

Most days, Critchley rides the Sun Link Streetcar to lunch. Friday, December 8, Tucson News Now tagged along.

Working out of Station One in downtown Tucson as the chief for the last six years, Critchley's watched the community grow.

"Downtown is a lot livelier and lasts a lot longer," he said. "It used to shut down at five o'clock. That fire station there is busy all day long."

So busy that the call volume for fire and medical emergencies in Tucson city limits has the TFD ranked as a top 40 busiest metro city. Critchley's joined the department in 1988.

A ride on the Streetcar comes with reminders of many of the calls that he's responded to over the years, whether it's a fire at the Tucson Convention Center while a movie was being made or the call to the historic foundation to help preserve the front of the Grill after a devastating fire.

"There are crosses on sidewalks, where there was a bike or a pedestrian or a car wreck, and I know that they didn't make it, but I was on the call," Critchley said. "Some of them are hard, but some of them are great."

Like the nine babies that he's helped deliver. Or the department's partnership with agencies around the world, like the mass casualty exercise that sent some members of Tucson Fire Department to train in Israel.

"We're on the map," he said. "People know Tucson Fire."

The department boasts the highest Insurance Service Office (ISO) ranking for a metro fire department. Critchley said he's proud to know that the department's quality service can make a difference for homeowners and their insurance.

The physical and mental health of firefighters has been a priority for Critchley. He said it's been important for the department to have wellness programs, but there are what he consider more contentions changes that he believes could help as well.

Switching up the schedules or two-crew rescue vehicles would need to be the projects of a future chief, according to Critchley.

He said his next project will be leaving his work family of roughly 750 employees to focus on his much smaller family at home.

"I've had an incredible ride and I'm just one of a long ling of firefighters, Tucson Fire Department employees that are giving back to the community," he said. "It's been nothing I ever dreamed I would do, and now I can't imagine to now have done it."

MOBILE USERS: Download our Tucson News Now app for Apple and Android devices.

Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

  • Local newsMore>>

  • People and dog attacked by swarm of bees in midtown

    People and dog attacked by swarm of bees in midtown

    Thursday, June 21 2018 1:14 AM EDT2018-06-21 05:14:28 GMT
    (Source: TFD)(Source: TFD)

    Multiple Tucson Fire Department units responded to the area of Oracle and Limberlost after bees stung several people on Wednesday afternoon.

    Multiple Tucson Fire Department units responded to the area of Oracle and Limberlost after bees stung several people on Wednesday afternoon.

  • Pima County homeless population at lowest level in six years, count says

    Pima County homeless population at lowest level in six years, count says

    Thursday, June 21 2018 12:28 AM EDT2018-06-21 04:28:17 GMT

    The total number of homeless people in Pima County is going down, according to the new data from the group of volunteers that counts them. The data collected by the Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness (TPCH)  shows that the total number of "persons experiencing homelessness" in Pima County is 1,380. The numbers were gathered on the night of January 23, 2018, by 244 volunteers on the 2018 Street Count. 

    The total number of homeless people in Pima County is going down, according to the new data from the group of volunteers that counts them. The data collected by the Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness (TPCH) shows that the total number of "persons experiencing homelessness" in Pima County is 1,380. 

  • PACC offering free microchips through July 3

    PACC offering free microchips through July 3

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 11:50 PM EDT2018-06-21 03:50:50 GMT
    Pima Animal Care Center is offering free microchips for pets through Tuesday, July 3. (Source: PACC)Pima Animal Care Center is offering free microchips for pets through Tuesday, July 3. (Source: PACC)

    Pima Animal Care Center is offering free microchips for pets through Tuesday, July 3.

    Pima Animal Care Center is offering free microchips for pets through Tuesday, July 3.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Enormous snake raises pulses along Lake Erie

    Enormous snake raises pulses along Lake Erie

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 8:08 PM EDT2018-06-20 00:08:24 GMT
    This is more than likely a Lake Erie watersnake on the dock of the Bay Boat Club in Bay Village. (Source: Donna Conrad/Facebook)This is more than likely a Lake Erie watersnake on the dock of the Bay Boat Club in Bay Village. (Source: Donna Conrad/Facebook)

    It's the kind of picture you might expect to see come out of the Amazon or from the Nile River, not Bay Village, Ohio.  

    It's the kind of picture you might expect to see come out of the Amazon or from the Nile River, not Bay Village, Ohio.  

Powered by Frankly