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Firefighter Paramedic Edward Gaicki
Every year on January 15, we remember our brother Firefighter Paramedic Edward Gaicki who died in the line of duty on January 15, 1980. Ed is the only firefighter killed in the line of duty since the department transitioned from an all-volunteer force to a professional department.
His supreme sacrifice was recognized through Resolution No.1581 passed by Tempe City Council just two days after his death. And his name lives on in the Tempe community through Gaicki Park, Cornell Dr. & McClintock Dr., and with a plaque placed at the Public Safety Memorial in Tempe Beach Park.
On January 15, 1980, Firefighter Paramedic Ed Gaicki and his company responded to a fire at what was then the Jumbo Bagel Deli, 1352 E. Apache Blvd. During a four-alarm blaze, the structure’s roof collapsed on Firefighter Gaicki and eight other firefighters. He was 28 years old.
When responding units first arrived, there was smoke rising from the roof, but the inside of the deli was clear. Ed, who was assigned to the rescue truck that day, worked alongside the balance of the units that had responded from the firehouse at 1000 E. University. They began pulling ceilings to get at the fire that they knew was burning in the space above them. The collapse of the roof was sudden and unexpected and the fire began to burn furiously. In total, a dozen firefighters entered the building that day, but, unfortunately, Ed was the only firefighter who did not come out. While his friends and colleagues attempted numerous rescues, there was nothing that could be done and Firefighter Ed Gaicki surrendered that day to a higher calling.
Ed trained as a paramedic and was nominated for the Tempe Jaycee’s Annual Outstanding Young Firefighter of the Year Award just five days before his death. He had graduated McClintock High School in 1970, where he was an All-State football player and the president of the senior class. He accepted an appointment into the United States Air Force Academy, although his true dream was to be a firefighter for the City of Tempe. At the time of his death, Firefighter Gaicki was on track to promote to the rank of Captain, which would have made him the first Captain/Paramedic in the department.
New fire station project
Tempe's newest fire station is closer to becoming reality. You can see the Fire Station 7 renderings on the project web page and follow its progress.
Tempe Fire Medical Rescue
The Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department is an “all hazards” department that responds to all types of incidents including fires, automobile accidents, medical emergencies, hazardous materials response, technical rescues and much more. Additionally, we pride ourselves in being involved in promoting emergency preparedness, fire prevention and a variety of life safety programs.
The Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department was the first Internationally Accredited Department in the nation, and we are fully accredited through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. The Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department has an ISO rating of 2. Tempe is one of 585 in the country to achieve this high rating and has maintained this rating since 1982, which speaks to the Department’s fire suppression capabilities.
Tempe participates in an automatic aid system with 26 other fire departments in the Phoenix area. Automatic aid means the closest unit is dispatched using GPS to an emergency regardless of jurisdiction. For example, if a fire is on the Tempe/Mesa border and Tempe Fire is closer to the incident than Mesa, Tempe will respond. This decreases response times, provides the department with unlimited resources, and is a more efficient and effective use of resources throughout the Phoenix area.
Our Mission: We, the members of the Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department, dedicate our efforts to provide for the safety and welfare of the public through preservation of life, health, property and the environment.
Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department
P.O. Box 5002
Tempe, Arizona 85280
480-858-7230 Community Risk Reduction