VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Danczyk, 49, has announced his retirement. His last day will be effective August 31, 2022.

“I remember when I hired on, there were 17 of us in the group that I was hired on with. They will always have a special place in my heart. The City of Vicksburg and the Vicksburg Fire Department have been tremendous organizations to work for, and they have been very fulfilling and rewarding. Throughout my career, there have been so many opportunities from training to promotional. You get to be involved in a lot of things that are just important. A lot of times we see people on their worst day, whether it’s a house fire or a motor vehicle wreck, a medical emergency, those are tough scenes, but having the chance to serve and trying to make a difference, and I think often times we do that,” he said.

Danczyk has been with the department for a little more than 27 years, and he has seen it change from the ground up.

“It’s definitely changed, even if you go back before me, talking to a lot of these retirees, there wasn’t breathing apparatus. You went up into to burning buildings with no air pack and very limited fire fighting gear and personal protection equipment, and now the technology has increased quite a bit. We have better equipment when you’re facing some of these hazards,” he explained.

One of the proudest moments for the chief is the collaboration to lower the fire rating to a Class 4 from a Class 5 rating in October 2018.

WJTV 12 News asked Danczyk about his plans after retirement.

“I want to pursue a new career and take some of my talents and experience with me and see if I can add to a team and learn some things, also. It’s going to be different, but I am excited about learning new skills. I think after 27 years here, it’s a good time to transition, and my departure will open the doors for others which is exciting,” he said.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will select a new fire chief for the city. They plan to hire a new chief closer to September 1.