Las Vegas Fire spokesman retires after 51 years of service

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 11:06 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - At 2:00 Thursday afternoon, Tim Szymanski will walk into the Las Vegas Fire and Rescue human resources department, turn in his keys and badge, then walk out a civilian for the first time in 51 years.

“We’ve had an emergency phone and emergency radio next to our bed for 51 years,” said Szymanski.  “We don’t know what it’s like to be a regular person that lies in bed all night and get to sleep thru the night.”

Szymanski’s life could have turned out a lot different. Fresh out of high school, he wanted to join the fight in Vietnam. But one thing got in Tim’s way: he was too skinny.

“I weighed 112 pounds, wasn’t even eligible for the draft. They wouldn’t take me,” Szymanski said. “But the fire department did.”

For the next 51 years in Cleveland, Atlanta and here in Las Vegas, Szymanski dedicated his life to helping others.

“Every time that bell rang I thought people are hurting and need our help.  We need to get there quick as possible and stop whatever is happening,” Szymanski said proudly.

For the last 26 years, Szymanski has worked as the public information officer for Las Vegas Fire and Rescue. It was his job to speak to the media and inform the public what was happening at the scene.

That massive downtown fire in June had the entire department scrambling. That’s when Szymanski realized it was time to retire.

“The four alarm fire on Charleston probably the biggest incident I was on.  That’s when I made the decision to retire.”

For the final time Tuesday Szymanski woke up, drank some coffee, put on his uniform and went to work.

“It means a lot to me to put this uniform on,” an emotional Szymanski said.  “Very proud of it.”

The longtime fireman also thanked his wife who was with him every step of the way.

“I want to give a shoutout to my wife, I wouldn’t have been successful without Ellen.  She’s had my back every step for the last 51 years.”