Waterloo fire chief announces retirement

WATERLOO — Waterloo’s fire chief will step down at the end of the year.

Pat Treloar announced he plans to retire after 25 years with Waterloo Fire Rescue. He has been the department’s chief for more than decade.

“I think the department is in a good spot because of the command staff and all of our members that are working together for the citizens,” Treloar, the fourth longest-serving chief in the fire department’s history, said Friday.

“I’d like to thank (former fire chief) Frank Magsamen for taking a shot and hiring a guy from Canada and (former mayor) Buck Clark for taking a chance and promoting a young captain to the position of chief,” he said.

Authorities briefly shut down a section of Ridgeway Avenue near Plaza Circle in Waterloo, Iowa, on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, for a natural gas leak.

Jeff Reinitz

Among his accomplishments, Treloar lists updating the department’s ambulance service.

“I think we are one of the better services as far as equipment and personnel. We’ve added ventilators, we’ve added scopes for intubation. Those are fairly advanced at the paramedic level,” Treloar said.

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The department also added the position of Emergency Medical Services training officer, which will provide one-on-one specialized training for the department’s paramedic staff and related medical training for firefighters.

Treloar also re-established a training captain position to oversee operations at the Regional Training Center — which offers education to surrounding departments — and coordinates ongoing training for Waterloo firefighters. The training captain position had been phased out during a restructuring that took place before he was chief.

Waterloo Fire Chief Pat Treloar cleans the Fourth Street pedestrian bridge July 27, 2021, ahead of RAGBRAI guests arriving in the city.

Jeff Reinitz

Both the EMS training officer and the training captain positions started in July.

An effort to address the risk of cancer for fire department staff is another area that has seen growth under Treloar.

“There have been a few members recently with job-related cancer that have heightened our awareness that we need to do a better job of cancer prevention,” Treloar said.

The profession runs the risk from carcinogenic debris picked up from fighting fires that coats protective clothing and other gear.

Waterloo Fire Rescue added “extractors,” machines to wash protective coats and pants. And the department will be issuing a second set of bunker gear to each firefighter, allowing them to change into clean gear after a fire.

Larry Lehman discusses the discovery of Mike Jensen with Waterloo Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald on July 10, 2020, in Waterloo, Iowa. Jensen had been missing for four days.

Jeff Reinitz

Also under Treloar’s watch, the city’s ISO rating went from a 3 to a 2. The rating is on a scale of 1 through 10 with 1 being the best. The score can be used to calculate the price of property insurance.

Treloar said he credits the accomplishments to cooperation and support from the mayor, City Council and community.

The outgoing fire chief said he had hoped to add a fourth front-line ambulance for the city. Waterloo currently has three ambulances staffed around the clock, and the department has two others that can be put into service as needed by pulling firefighters from fire stations.

In the future, he would like to see the fire department receive accreditation through the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

Born in Texas to Canadian parents, Treloar moved to Canada with his family when he was 5 years old. He held a position with the Fire Commissioner’s Office for Manitoba province before being hired by Waterloo Fire Rescue in 1997.

He served as a firefighter, medic, engineer and community services director and worked his way to captain before Mayor Buck Clark appointed him to lead the department in 2011.

In his retirement, Treloar plans to spend more time with his family.

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