Hoover fire chief to retire

Longtime Hoover Fire Chief Tom Bradley will step down Feb. 1, after 32 years as Hoover’s chief and 60 years in fire service.

Bradley, 80, has been a driving force behind many of the improvements in Hoover’s fire department in the last 30 years.

“We had 16 employees when I came here. Now we’ve got 172,” he said. “We had two fire stations, and now we have nine.”

Under Bradley’s watch, the Hoover Fire Department also moved from a Class 7 ISO to a Class 2 ISO. An ISO rating, in which 1 is the best and 10 is the worst, shows how good a city’s fire protection is and can affect residents’ insurance costs.

“Hoover being a 2, that’s as high as any in the state,” Bradley said. “The level of training that all the men get on an on-going basis is as good as any in the state.”

While Bradley is proud of all his achievements, he said he takes the most pride in the continuing excellence of the fire department.

“I’m the most proud that the city has kept up with the growth and in providing the manpower and equipment for the services,” he said. “They know we’re one of the better departments in the state. I’m proud it’s been maintained since I’ve been here.”

Bradley said retirement will hold new sights and new places. He and his wife of 31 years, Becky, plan to take the time to travel.

“It’ll be the first time we’ve ever been home together through all the years of marriage,” he said. “She’s been retired and home alone for a couple of years now.”

The Bradley legacy isn’t over, though. Bradley’s son, Matthew, just joined the Rocky Ridge Fire Department and has completed his paramedic training.

Bradley said he doesn’t know who his replacement will be, but he’s been told the new chief will come from within the department.