Longtime Laurel Firefighter Retires

Posted on: January 15, 2015

It was a wet, dreary day outside Thursday afternoon, but inside Fire Station #4 in Queensburg, it was cheery as retired firefighters, a past fire chief, family and friends gathered and paid tribute to Captain Richard Dantzler. On January 24, Dantzler will be hanging up his hose for the final time after 36 years of service. The crew at the station, along with his wife, Willie Bell and daughter-in-law, Brenda Dantzler, prepared a table of hor d’oeuvres and cake. With each new visitor, Dantzler briefly paused his march down memory lane for a handshake or photo before he launched into another story about his time with the department.

Cpt. Dantzler spent his entire career in Laurel and has seen drastic changes in the techniques of firefighting but a continued tradition of camaraderie among the firefighters who serve the city of Laurel.

“It’s definitely going to be sad to leave as it is a great job. Working with these men is what I will miss the most. I was happy to be a Laurel firefighter but even happier to have stayed alive.”

One such fellow firefighter, Duane Allen was asked about what he learned from Dantzler. He responded, “The best thing an old firefighter can teach a young firefighter is how to become an old firefighter. I have worked under other captains, but Richard has taught me the best.”

Chief James Brown commended Captain Dantzler for having an exemplary attitude toward continuing training and passing that knowledge down to the younger firefighters.
“The department will definitely miss that wealth of knowledge, leadership and experience.”