Hartwell Fire Chief Terry Vickery has witnessed first-hand the evolution of fire fighting — even growing up with a “fire phone” in his house — through the decades of his 45-year career with his hometown department.
The longtime chief recently announced he is now hanging up his equipment and hoping to enjoy a more relaxed retirement, one in which he doesn’t get calls at 2 a.m. to extinguish a burning building.
Vickery doesn’t officially retire until Dec. 31, he said, but he’s going to be taking a few vacations before then as he winds down a career with the Hartwell Fire Department that started in 1975.
Even though he never thought he would actually follow through with making it his career, he said, Vickery became Hartwell’s fire chief in 1991.
Vickery’s father, Maurice Vickery, was a fire chief in Hartwell as well.