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Fire Chief Retires After 30-Year Stint : Government: Chief William M. Daley, 56, rose through the ranks since joining the city department in 1963.


BEVERLY HILLS — After 30 years with the Beverly Hills Fire Department, Chief William M. Daley retired Wednesday.

Daley, 56, was only the fourth fire chief to serve the city since the department was established in 1925.

He will be honored for his contributions by the City Council and community groups during ceremonies planned later this month, said city spokesman Fred Cunningham.

A Chicago native, Daley joined the department in 1963 after serving in the U.S. Army. He rose through the ranks and was named chief in 1979 after serving as a firefighter, engineer, paramedic, captain and battalion chief. During his 14 years as chief, he has served under 22 different mayors.

Under his command, the 85-member department honed its fire- and emergency-response time down to an average of four minutes. That response time and city requirements for smoke detectors, fire sprinklers and fire-resistant roofing have won the city the highest fire protection rating awarded by the National Insurance Services Office, the spokesman said. The Class I rating, which entitles the city to the lowest insurance premiums, has been awarded to only three other California cities and seven others nationwide.

The department, with funding from a community support group, has trained more than 40,000 people in cardiopulmonary resuscitation over the last 15 years and another 6,000 in first aid.

Daley's numerous personal honors include the Maple Center's Distinguished Community Service Award and the Beverly Hills PTA Council award for dedicated service to children and community.

In a recent interview, Daley said he has been eligible to retire for several years. He said he retired now to take advantage of incentives offered as a result of the city's projected $1-million budget shortfall.

Daley said he expects one of the four battalion chiefs will be appointed to serve as interim chief while the city fills his position.

A resident of Torrance, Daley said he looks forward to spending more time with his wife and two sons during his retirement, traveling, and training and showing his Labrador retrievers in field trials.

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