On Saturday, Sept. 11, Wilmington Fire Chief Cecil V. “Buddy” Martinette will retire after 13 years of leading the Wilmington Fire Department.
The date he picked to retire on means a lot to Martinette, both personally and professionally. While working as the fire chief in Lynchburg, Virginia, he was called to duty at the Pentagon on 9/11, helping coordinate rescue and recovery efforts there.
But when the WFD holds a ceremony 9 a.m. Saturday at Fire Station No. 2 at Empie Park — the location of a sculpture of a firefighter who's depicted holding a steel beam salvaged from one of the World Trade Center towers — Martinette will be there, but you won't hear a word about his retirement.
He would rather the focus be on the 343 firefighters who lost their lives that day. Martinette said he knew about 40 of the firefighters who died on 9/11, having worked and trained with many of them on urban rescue operations through the years.