ELMHURST – After 31 years of service in the Elmhurst Fire Department, Chief Jeff Bacidore celebrated his retirement at a party attended by more than 200 people.
Bacidore’s last day as an Elmhurst firefighter was Feb. 5, the same day friends, family and colleagues gathered at the American Legion to express their gratitude for his more than three decades of service.
“We appreciate all that [Bacidore] has given to the residents of Elmhurst over his career and wish him the best as he starts a new career,” Elmhurst City Manager James Grabowski said in a news release.
According to Bacidore, he retired to take a position as a risk management consultant with a company in St. Charles.
Bacidore began his career in 1980 as a paid on-call firefighter in LaSalle. Five years later he was hired by the Elmhurst Fire Department. By June 1995, Bacidore was promoted to lieutenant, and three years later he was made battalion chief. In 2002, he was appointed deputy fire chief.
A decade later, and almost exactly 27 years after becoming an Elmhurst firefighter, Bacidore was named fire chief.
Bacidore has seen Elmhurst change, year by year, “all for the good.” When Bacidore started, the fire department was smaller. Sometime in the ’90s, Bacidore said, the city expanded the department by six firefighters to accommodate for the increase in Elmhurst’s population.
“Of course I’m going to miss [the Elmhurst Fire Department], especially the people,” Bacidore said. “But all good things come to an end, and I’m moving on.”
The city hosted a party at 3 p.m. Feb. 5 at the American Legion at 310 W. Butterfield Road. The event was open to the public and more than 200 people attended, including fellow firefighters, city staff, friends, family and Elmhurst residents that got to know Bacidore over the years.
“It was bittersweet,” Bacidore said. “It was emotional and overwhelming, but very nice for my family and me.”
He said that he will never forget the dedication and caring of the people of Elmhurst.
As he moves on to his new job in the private sector, Bacidore said he is grateful and feels blessed for all the support the city of Elmhurst and the fire department gave him.
The city now is faced with the task of replacing Bacidore.
On Feb. 1, the City Council approved the hiring of Deputy Fire Chief William Anaszewicz as interim fire chief while they vet internal and external candidates for fire chief, Grabowski said.
Last year, under Bacidore’s leadership, the Elmhurst Fire Department received the American Heart Association’s Lifeline EMS Silver Award and also was honored for its work during Elmhurst Memorial Hospital’s EMS Recognition Dinner.