The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 4, 2013

Conneaut seeking new Station 3 battalion chief

Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — Conneaut Fire Chief Steve Lee is looking for a new Fire Station 3 battalion chief after the recent retirement of long-time office-holder Vincent Gildone.

Gildone retired from the job — and the station — after a career that spanned decades. He submitted a letter of resignation on June 21, Lee said.

“Vince’s career started many years ago,” Lee said. “I wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Candidates for the job are being evaluated, Lee said. “We’re still looking at it,” he said.

During his tenure, Gildone held many positions at the station, home to the fire department’s on-call firefighters. From rookie firefighter to battalion chief, Gildone spent 40 years at the station, he said.

Not only is Gildone stepping down as station leader, he has also run his last ambulance call for Conneaut. Over his career, Gildone said he has responded to more than 11,000 ambulance calls. Gildone will remain as director/administrator at the Northwest Ambulance District, where he has worked for 35 years.

One of several people who helped get the city’s ambulance service off the ground in the 1970s, Gildone said he has no regrets saying good-bye to the station. “It was time,” he said.

Station 3 saw a change in its duties in 2009, when the municipal fire department was reorganized by city administrators. As part of the shake-up, Station 4 on the city’s west side was closed and merged into Station 3. Also, the department’s first-out ambulance was shifted from Station 3 to Station 1, home to the city’s full-time, career firefighters.

The action had an impact on the Station 3 roster, Gildone said. “We don’t have nearly as many volunteers as we once did,” he said.

Gildone, Conneaut’s Citizen of the Year for 2002, said he will remain active with the Conneaut Human Resource Center, and new projects with NAD will keep him busy, too.

“I’m leaving behind some friends and equipment I fought hard to get,” he said. “But the time was right. I’m at peace with my decision.”