A Watertown city fire fighter is set to retire, ending a 38 year career with the department.
The City of Watertown Fire Department announced Friday morning that senior fire fighter Ray Barden will retire on April 28th.
Mr. Barden began employment with the Fire Department on August 5, 1974, and has served this community for nearly 38 years. During his tenure, he has worked major weather events (Blizzard of 1977 and Ice Storms of 1991 & 1998); a multiple, fatal fire at 142 Mechanic Street which occurred on the night of December 15, 1989; and thousands of fire alarms.
He has seen the apparatus advance from open air cabs and personnel riding on the rear tailboard to members being seated and belted in for safety. Mr. Barden has also seen the department downsized from five engine houses to the present three station configuration. He also has worked as an EMT providing medical care and as an Acting Captain providing company leadership and accountability.
Mr. Barden will be honored as the Fire Fighter of the Year by the American Legion Post 61 on April 26.
Mr. Barden plans on keeping busy doing maintenance on islands off of Fishers Landing, being a district commissioner for the Evans Mills Fire District, and camping with his wife Linda.