By FireRescue1 Staff
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — A fire chief recently celebrated 50 years in the fire service.
The Battle Creek Enquirer reported that Bedford Charter Township Chief Larry Cochensparger, 78, began his fire career in 1967 after leaving the Navy when firefighter Manley Black walked from the fire station to Cochensparger’s house, which is across the street, and asked him if he wanted to be a volunteer firefighter.
“He came across the road and said, ‘You want to be in the fire department?’” Chief Cochensparger said. “I just said I would give it a shot.”
A week later, he was on his first call to a car fire.
“When the calls came in (Black) set the siren off and when I heard that I didn’t have far to run to get a truck,” Chief Cochensparger said. “I was home when the siren went off and I got a small rig and headed on out that way. It was fully in flames. The pump was on the back and I got it started. Then another guy showed up and he still had shaving cream on his face and he didn’t know if I knew how to operate the pump. Going up there I hoped I could get it out or it will just burn some more until someone else gets there.”
Since that first call, Chief Cochensparger estimated he’s been on over 13,000 calls. He became assistant chief in 1995 before being promoted to chief 12 years ago, and he said he has no plans to retire.
“I am not going any place. This is just marking 50 years,” Chief Cochensparger said. “As long as I have a good group of guys I will continue to do this until my health says we better call it quits and then I will wrap it up.”