Okolona fire chief retires - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Okolona fire chief retires

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Retired Okolona fire chief Rich Carlson, approx. 1990 OFPD photo. Retired Okolona fire chief Rich Carlson, approx. 1990 OFPD photo.
OFPD photo. OFPD photo.

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  (WDRB) -- One of the area's longest-serving fire chiefs makes his last call.

Okolona chief Rich Carlson spent his last hours on duty Wednesday in the midst of hugs at his retirement party.

He leaves the department after 39 years -- and almost 30 as chief.

It's a department that has added paid firefighters to supplement volunteers, added new gear and stations, and has an excellent insurance rating.

Carlson says he'll miss the calls, but not the sadness that sometimes comes with them.

"My time with the fire department has been a blessing. You got a guy who loves what he does, and he doesn't work for a day.  And I love what I do. I've just had a wonderful time," Carlson said.

He has mentored fire chiefs and captains throughout the metro area.

Well-wishers signed Carlson's fire helmet as a souvenir.

He retires at age 60, eager to take up his woodworking hobby, play golf and spend more time with his grandchildren.

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