Ariz. fire chief dies from cardiac arrest due to COVID-19 complications
Buckeye Fire Chief Bob Costello, 62, is remembered as a "true visionary" and earned multiple awards throughout his service
Duty Death: Robert Costello - [Buckeye, Arizona]
End of Service: 04/08/2021
By Laura French
BUCKEYE, Ariz. — An Arizona fire chief died last week after suffering a cardiac arrest due to COVID-19 complications, officials say.
Buckeye Fire Chief Bob Costello, 62, who had served at the department for 17 years and for 13 years as chief, died last Thursday, according to Buckeye Mayor Eric Orsborn.
"Chief Costello was a true visionary for Buckeye," Orsborn said in a statement, according to KTAR. "His quiet, comforting personality made him a friend to everyone he met. He was one of the most genuine people on earth and truly cared about others and the community. We are all still in shock over his sudden passing, but take comfort in knowing that his amazing contributions to Buckeye will have positive impacts on the city for years to come."
During his leadership, Costello helped establish the city's community paramedicine program, was instrumental in constructing multiple new fire stations and led the city's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, city officials said. He served on the Arizona Emergency Medical Services Council from 2001 to 2004 and again from 2016 to 2020, and was also a member of the Patient Family Advisory Council at Banner Estrella Medical Center.
Costello earned multiple awards throughout his service, including the Phoenix Business Journal Healthcare Hero Award in August 2019, the Exemplary Service to Humanity award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion in February 2019, the Dr. Paul Johnson Award from the Abrazo West Campus in May 2016 and the Buckeye Valley Chamber of Commerce Heroism Award in 2016.
Costello is survived by his wife and his brother.
"He lived a life dedicated to public service," fire department officials wrote. "You will be missed, sir. Thank you for all you have done. And may peace be with your family and fire family in Buckeye and statewide."
A funeral service will be held for Costello on Thursday, April 15.