After nearly 43 years with the Key West Fire Department and a decade at its helm, Fire Chief David Fraga has announced his retirement.
In a letter to City Manager Jim Scholl, Chief Fraga wrote, “On November 7, 2015, I completed my 42nd year of service with the fire department, and May will mark my 10th year as Chief. I have been blessed to have had the honor, privilege, and the opportunity to serve in that capacity for all those years.”
Chief Fraga has dedicated his career to improving the fire department and says he is retiring with “a profound sense of accomplishment.”
Under his leadership, the department expanded from two divisions — fire suppression and prevention – to four: fire suppression, fire prevention, emergency management, and emergency medical services.
Over the past two years, Chief Fraga has seen to fruition three goals that will define his legacy. Fire Station #2, after years of delays, was completed in 2015, providing state-of-the-art service to the community and replacing the decrepit quarters in which our firefighter were previously housed. In April of 2015, the fire department integrated emergency medical services, moving ambulance service away from the private sector and into the public. This major shift will prove a lasting legacy that ensures fiscal accountability and outstanding service for the community.
Just this month, Chief Fraga was informed that his final goal for the department had been attained: the department received a Class 1 rating from the Insurance Services Office. This rating benefits the entire community, and is the highest rating a community can achieve. It provides all citizens of Key West the lowest fire insurance rates possible. The designation makes Key West one in just 178 communities nationwide rated a Class 1 Department.
Chief Fraga knew since childhood that he would serve this community with the fire department. Even as a boy, he hung out at the fire station and looked up to many of the men that served. Understanding that tie with youth and dedication, he focused his energy as Chief into breathing new life into the Key West High School Fire Academy. It has been successfully training local students in preparation for Firefighter I certification.
Fraga began his career in 1973 as a firefighter, working his way up through the ranks: Captain, Fire Marshal, Division Chief, and in 2006, Fire Chief. He submitted his notice to the City on April 18th. Chief Fraga’s retirement date is set for May 31st. However, he will be completing earned leave time for the next several weeks.
Upon notice of Chief Fraga’s retirement, Scholl appointed Operations Division Chief Michael Davila as acting Fire Chief.