Dickinson Township fire chief retires
Jan 10, 2013 (The Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Just because he's retiring as the fire chief in Dickinson Township, don't think that Ivan Bretzman won't be behind the wheel of an engine when the fire department is called out.
"I still drive Mt. Holly rigs," Bretzman said. "It's in my blood, and I want the people to know it's still in my blood. They might see me driving."
Dickinson Township supervisors Monday night acknowledged Bretzman's request to step down as chief by appointing his son, Greg Bretzman, to the chief's position and Ivan Bretzman to assistant chief.
Bretzman said he has no problem stepping down.
"I just feel that it's time to get out and let the younger generation fulfill the duties," Bretzman said.
He offered township supervisors a more detailed explanation when he first floated the idea of stepping down last fall.
"I'm 73 years old," he said. "It's time to step back a little bit. And these computers. Everything is done by computers today and I do not have a computer and I do not plan on buying a computer or getting a computer. I just think Greg's the man you want to put in my position."
Besides the issue with computers, he admits to having some hearing problems and doesn't want to make a decision at a fire scene that could do harm.
Bretzman said that as a young man, he couldn't wait to join the fire company.
On May 31, 1957, he was finally old enough to join. A couple of days later, he showed up at the Wednesday night meeting of the Bendersville fire company to join.
He served there until he met his wife, Judy, who lived between Mt. Holly and Boiling Springs. He joined the Mt. Holly fire company in 1958 and became its chief in 1966.
"I actually have served Mt. Holly for 26 years as their fire chief. And now, I'm completing 26 years in Dickinson as fire chief," Bretzman said.
Bretzman said that his service in those municipalities overlapped, but he served the area for 52 years as fire chief.
Judy has been among his strongest supporters over the years. Bretzman said both of his sons grew up in the fire house. When they were very young, they played in a playpen while Judy and others in the Bretzman family put in many hours preparing for the annual fireman's fair.
"There's so many memories," Bretzman said.
He recalled the fire that engulfed the Bowman's Department Store in the first block of South Hanover Street in Carlisle in 1962 and a fire at Rocky Saw Mill, a lumber yard in the Mt. Holly area. The fire caused $500,000 damage, which was quite a sum back in 1967 or 1968, Bretzman said.
But more than the adventure of fighting fires, Bretzman remembers the cooperation from the community and the fire departments that worked with him over the years.
"It's been a true brotherhood of fire service," Bretzman said. "I would urge all departments to give Greg the same cooperation."
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