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Well-known retired St. Louis fire chief dies

Neil Svetanics, 77, was celebrated for his innovation, ambulance service improvement and forging mutual aid pacts


By FireRescue1 Staff

ST. LOUIS — A beloved retired fire chief died June 7.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that St. Louis Fire Chief Neil Svetanics, 77, died after a brief lung illness.

Fire Chief Neil Svetanics (Photo/Facebook)
Fire Chief Neil Svetanics (Photo/Facebook)

Chief Svetanics started his firefighting career in 1962, and began serving as chief in 1986. He retired in 2014.

“I wish I was young enough to do it all over again,” Chief Svetanics said upon retirement.

In 1998, Svetanics was named Fire Chief of the Year. He was celebrated in St. Louis for his innovation, ambulance service improvement and forging mutual aid pacts with surrounding departments.

“He was well-respected,” St. Louis Fire Department Chief Dennis Jenkerson said. “He was a good public servant.”

Chief Svetanics is survived by his three daughters. His wife of 51 years died in 2013.

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