By SCOTT JACKSON
Jack Cadegan, Quincy’s fire chief for the past 13 months, will be retiring at the end of January.
Cadegan became Quincy’s 15th fire chief when he was appointed to the position by Mayor Thomas Koch in December 2018. Cadegan succeeded Joseph Barron, who had served as chief for 10 years.
Koch will be responsible for appointing Cadegan’s replacement.
Cadegan joined the Quincy Fire Department as a firefighter in 1985 at the age of 30. He had been a carpenter and taught night school prior to joining the department, and credited his late father, Frank, for encouraging him to become a firefighter.
“He was smart enough to see that I might enjoy this job – it might be a good thing for me,” Cadegan said when he was promoted to fire chief. “I was 30 at the time, so I already had a profession, and I’m so glad I listened to him. He knew something I didn’t know. I always say the older I get, the smarter he becomes.”
Cadegan spent the first 15 years of his career on an engine company, and then was assigned to Ladder 2 in Wollaston. In a January 2019 interview, the fire chief said it was his wife, Karen, who encouraged him to take a promotional exam, which led him to becoming a lieutenant in 2017.
“My first 15 years was basically on an engine company, which I enjoyed, but then a good friend of mine was retiring, and I got his spot on Ladder 2 up in Wollaston and I loved it. I very much loved working on a ladder company – the whole search and rescue thing and ventilation, being up on the roof,” Cadegan said at the time.
“I probably would still be there, but my wife made a good point. As I got older and guys were starting to retire, she was the one who kind of mentioned ‘what about taking the promotional exam,’ which I didn’t want any part of. I loved working with the guys that I worked with – why would I leave? She basically said, ‘you’re all getting older, guys are going to be retiring and moving on.’ She was absolutely right.”
Cadegan was promoted to captain in 2011 and deputy chief in 2014.
City Clerk Nicole Crispo announced Cadegan’s upcoming retirement at Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of License Commissioners.
“We are sorry you aren’t going to be on our board anymore,” Crispo said. “We will miss you, but we wish you the very best in your retirement. Congratulations.”
Cadegan thanked his fellow board members for their support.
“You’ve been wonderful to me, all of you,” he said. “I appreciate it.”