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After 29 Years with Auburn Fire Dept., Assistant Chief DiFabio Retires


After 29 years with the Auburn Fire Department, Assistant Fire Chief Bill DiFabio has worked his last shift.

Speaking with Finger Lakes News Radio on his final day before retirement, DiFabio said his desire to become a firefighter was instilled in him by his father, a volunteer with the Owasco Fire Department.

“When I was 14 years old [my father] would bring me down to the firehouse and actually teach me how to operate the firetrucks even though I couldn’t drive them,” said DiFabio, “and that’s what got it into my blood.”

Realizing college wasn’t for him, DiFabio looked into careers in the military, joining the United States Air Force in 1986 as a Fire Protection Specialist.

“You go to work in a firehouse in a green uniform. They cover the flight line but also they have the structural pumpers that take care of base housing and stuff like that,” continued DiFabio.

He was on active duty with the Air Force for six years after which he worked as a civilian at Griffiss Air Force Base.

DiFabio began his career with the Auburn Fire Department on July 1, 1995, spending most of his time assigned to Truck Company. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on August 13, 2006. He served in the training office until August 2008 when he was transferred to Engine Company 3.  He was promoted to Captain on July 14, 2015, and moved back to Truck Company until November 3, 2016, when he was promoted to Assistant Chief. For the past seven years, DiFabio has rotated across the department’s four platoons.

In 1997, DiFabio began teaching with the New York State Fire Academy. He told Finger Lakes News Radio he plans to continue teaching instructor and officer classes for the academy.

In his time as a firefighter, DiFabio said he’s seen changes in the field, some for better, some for worse. He said lightweight building construction has made the job more dangerous while improvements to technology, such as thermal imaging and advances to gear, have increased firefighter safety.

Reflecting on his service, DiFabio said he loved the job and the people he was serving, a message he wishes to pass on to current and future firefighters.

“[My message is] to love the job and to love the people you are serving,” said DiFabio. “I have not felt like I have worked in the last 37 years. I have not dreaded coming to work every day; it was a joy to come to work… loving your job is what made me stay in the service for 37 years.”

DiFabio’s final day was Wednesday.

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