Carr to retire as Charleston Fire Chief

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston Fire Chief Thomas W. Carr, Jr. announced Wednesday that he will retire in March.

"Carr is recognized as one of the best minds in the fire service in our country," said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.

Carr will retire on March 1, 2012. Last summer, Carr was awarded the prized Career Fire Chief of the Year at the annual meeting of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

"We have been so fortunate to have Chief Carr as Fire Chief in our City," Riley said. "I have expressed my gratitude for his extraordinary service to our city and our country in several meetings with him these past few days."
Riley continued by saying that Carr supervised the acquisition of new equipment and implemented national best practices in training and fire safety for our firefighters and citizens.

"He has overseen the largest recruit classes in the City of Charleston Fire Department's history and implemented officer's candidate school, a national best practice and national model.  He has fostered a regional fire response system with cross-training from other fire departments in the region that has improved fire protection across the region," Riley said.

"It is with the utmost respect that Charleston Firefighters would like to say that we are all extremely grateful for the opportunity to have served under the extraordinary leadership of Chief Thomas Carr," Charleston Firefighters Association President Thomas J. Brennan said."We sympathize with the Carr family in their time of need and are more than willing to assist them in any way we can."

Charleston Fire Chief Thomas W. Carr, Jr. released the following statement:

"My most recent visit to the neurologist brought good and bad news that I need to share with you. Physically, my doctor said I looked better than I did 6 months earlier but he had life changing news. As we've discussed previously, Parkinson's is difficult to diagnose and as it has been in my case."

"My initial diagnosis was tennis elbow and it wasn't until later that I was diagnosed with slow developing Parkinson's. Parkinsonism is a group of neurological disorders or syndromes. Parkinson's is the most common and slowest developing. Unfortunately, my doctor now believes I have one of the more severe syndromes of Parkinsonism."

"The syndrome is known as Multiple System Atrophy (MSA). MSA is a rapidly developing, debilitating condition that doesn't respond well to medication."

"As a result of this change in my diagnosis and prognosis, I will be retiring on March 1, 2012. For the next six months we will continue to focus on moving the Department forward as a search for my replacement is conducted."

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