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Ready to roll from Springfield Fire Headquarters on North Fountain Avenue

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Retired Springfield Fire Chief Donald Lee died Oct. 20, 2014, according to the Springfield News-Sun.

He was 84.

Lee joined the fire division on Aug. 16, 1956, and served for 41 years.

He was promoted to lieutenant in 1970, captain in 1972, assistant fire chief in 1985 and fire chief in 1989.

During Lee's tenure as chief, the fire division underwent a major re-alignment of personnel and apparatus on Jan. 1, 1995, and acquired its first quint, a combination pumper and ladder truck.

The re-alignment addressed "safety concerns about staffing levels" raised during contract negotiations with the firefighters' union, Lee wrote in the fire division's 1995 annual report.

The plan increased staffing on engine companies and truck companies to a minimum of three per engine and four per truck, without the hiring of additional firefighters.

The quint allowed for the combination of an engine company and truck company, while Engine Co. 1 was placed in reserve and its firefighters were re-assigned to other stations.

In the fire division's 1994 annual report, Lee had requested the hiring of 18 additional firefighters to increase the fire division to "our 1980 manning levels."

Illustrating the severe staffing situation, the 1994 annual report showed just two firefighters assigned to each shift at stations No.3, No. 4 and No. 5.

1995 E-One Quint