Firefighting is such a noble profession. With just the sound of a siren you know you are about to put your life on the line to make someone else’s better. This is a satisfaction that few get the pleasure of experiencing.
Assistant Fire Chief Keith Kadle has always worked for the city of Jacksonville. He started out washing cars at the police department and working in the jail. The fire department needed help so he began helping out and now 32 years later he is Assistant Fire Chief, a position he has held for about seven years. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” says Kadle." "It was exciting as a 21 year old to fight fires and run EMS calls. There is a lot of satisfaction in being able to make a difference in someone’s life. Making a bad day a little bit better for someone.”
When asked how he feels about being a fireman all these years he advised, "it’s very rewarding, yet it is more dangerous to be a fireman today than years ago. Fires are a lot hotter and burn quicker today,” says Kadle. “You used to have about 17 minutes to get out of a fire, now you only have about three minutes. The stuff in your grandmother’s house was way different than now. There was a lot more cottons, wools, leather and wood, more natural things. Now with all the electronics, manmade plastics and chemicals, fires are much more toxic and burn hotter and quicker.” When asked about a fire that stands out in his memory, he reflected, “About 20 years ago the First United Methodist Church of Jacksonville was on fire.” He and one more fireman arrived first on the scene, and the first and second story was burning along with a van outside that had been set on fire. “It was a big building and overwhelming before help arrived. It was a good outcome though, the church still stands today. Also the tragic ones always stick out. Once we lost a mother and her two-year old child. At the time my son was about the same age. That one stayed with me for quite a while.” Kadle was asked if he ever gets scared. “If you didn’t’ have a little bit of a fear of it you are probably in the wrong line of work,” says Kadle. “You crawl into a room of complete darkness and its hot, you take away your eyesight and it gets pretty challenging.”
Kadle was asked about the new facility. “We are so blessed here to have such a wonderful facility provided by our taxpayers. We have everything we need here; classrooms we use for training, the emergency operations center where both the police department and fire department can come together in case something happens and the agencies need to work together. With another station, we now have the ability to put units on the scene much quicker than before. Emergency care now starts in the field saving lives rather than waiting until they get to an emergency room.
“As a leader, Chief Kadle is a good example, dedicated individual, not only to the department but the entire community”, says Jacksonville Fire Chief Wade Buckner. “He expects a lot from his crew and as a result they are a highly competent and cohesive unit.”
Keith is a 1980 graduate of Jacksonville High School. Kadle is married to wife Pam who works as an Acute Dialysis Nurse at RMC in Anniston. They have two sons, Jacob, 26, and Silas, 21. He enjoys fishing and spending time with his family. They are members of Bonny Brook Baptist Church. “Bonny Brook has been my church my entire life,” says Kadle. “My whole family goes there.”
Kadle loves to fish, and says he sees a lot a fishing in his future after retirement. “I would go fishing everyday if I could,” says Kadle. No retirement plans yet though. “I still enjoy what I do.” I love the guys I work with. We are like family. We do things together on and off the jobsite.”
Firemen risk their lives to make sure someone else’s is better. Firefighters save more than homes; they save hearts, memories… dreams. Thank you Keith Kadle for your service to our community.