Minneapolis fire chief to retire this fall

Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel is retiring after 41 years with the department


Zoë Jackson
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel will retire from the department in October after more than 40 years of service.

Fruetel submitted his intent to retire to Mayor Jacob Frey on Thursday morning, according to Darwin Forsyth, a spokesman for the mayor. The chief also informed his command staff of his fall retirement.

Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel will retire this fall after more than 40 years with the department. (Photo/minneapolismn.gov)
Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel will retire this fall after more than 40 years with the department. (Photo/minneapolismn.gov)

During his 41 years with the Minneapolis Fire Department, Fruetel has held several positions, including firefighter, fire captain, battalion chief, duty deputy chief, deputy chief of training and assistant chief of operations, according to the department website. Fruetel has served as fire chief since March 2012.

Mayor Jacob Frey announced Fruetel's retirement during a Minneapolis City Council meeting on Friday.

"The word legacy gets tossed around a lot in moments like these, but over the course of four decades, 41 years, I mean it when I say that Chief Fruetel has built a legacy in the city," Frey said.

Fruetel recently faced pushback from his firefighters and the union that represents them for his response during the nights of unrest following the murder of George Floyd. The chief did not call in reinforcements from other cities including St. Paul, even as buildings across Minneapolis burned.

Fruetel did not respond to requests for comment.

During the council meeting, Frey credited Fruetel with helping to reshape the department's approach to inclusive hiring, and for shepherding advances in firefighter safety.

"Without fail, he's answered the call whenever he's needed," Frey said.

Frey will begin developing a transition plan for the Fire Department, Forsyth said.

Fruetel will serve through Oct. 2.

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©2020 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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