SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- It's a bittersweet time for the Santa Maria Fire Department. The agency said goodbye to Battalion Chief Thomas Crakes, who retired on Saturday after 36 years of service.
“We're happy for his retirement but he is gonna be missed," said Fire Chief Leonard Champion. "He was so invested into this community and the department. You're gonna be hard pressed to find anybody who cared so much about the people that he worked with, and the community he served.”
Crakes started out as a reserve firefighter, going up the ranks and becoming battalion chief. He was also part of the Los Padres National management team and has responded to incidents all over the state.
"He and his family had been part of this department since 1911," said Champion. "His great-grandfather was part of this department back then, along with his dad who brought myself on as a firefighter. So he has a long legacy here with this community and with the department."
Chief Champion says Crakes is currently out of town and already enjoying his well deserved time off.