Waco: Fire chief unexpectedly announces retirement

Waco Fire Chief Bobby Tatum, Jr. says he plans to retire at the end of the year. (City of Waco photo)

WACO, Texas (KWTX) Waco’s fire chief plans to step down at the end of the year and the announcement of his retirement apparently caught firefighters by surprise.

“It is with mixed emotions that I inform you that after 35 years in the fire service I will be retiring from the city of Waco on December 31, 2019,” Waco Fire Chief Bobby Tatum said in a letter to fire department personnel.

Tatum said he was extremely grateful to lead to department for the past three and half years.

“I am proud of all the things that were accomplished during my tenure, yet saddened that I will not be a part of all of the great things ahead.”

The chief says he will spend his final weeks visiting the stations and thanking the men and women who serve the department.

Upon his retirement he said plans to spend more time with his wife and family as well as get more involved with his church, while still cheer for the Dallas Cowboys.

City manager Wiley Stem says since his arrival in Waco, Tatum “has improved the level of fire services the Council and citizens of Waco expect. We respect his decision to retire, thank him for his service and wish him the best in the future.”

According to city records, Tatum, a native of Fort Worth, began his fire service career with the Fort Worth Fire Department in 1985 at the age of 19.

He retired from the city of Fort Worth after 31 years of service at the rank of deputy chief to become the Waco’s seventh fire chief in May 2016.