Fairfield deputy fire chief’s death shocks, saddens community

The City of Fairfield announced Friday the death of Deputy Fire Chief Tom Wagner.

Wagner’s death was unexpected and no cause was given. He was an integral member of the Fairfield Fire Department for three decades, officials said.

Wagner started part-time in December of 1993 as a firefighter and EMT. He became a full-time firefighter/paramedic on April 19, 1999, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in January 2007.

He was the longtime president of the International Association of Firefighters, Local 4010.

“On Oct. 9, 2017, Tom was promoted to the position of Deputy Fire Chief of Emergency Medical Services,” the city said in a release Saturday.

Fairfield City Manager Scott Timmer called Wagner dedicated.

“We are all saddened by the sudden loss of Deputy Fire Chief Wagner. Tom’s dedication to the Fairfield Fire Department has been admired over his nearly 3 decades with the city. His efforts in grant writing has allowed our department to transition and evolve due to his hard work and success,” Timmer told the Journal-News. “Deputy Chief Wagner will leave a lasting impact on our department and we are certainly keeping his family, friends and the Fairfield Fire Dept. in our thoughts during this difficult time.”

Retired Fairfield Fire Chief Don Bennett said Wagner’s death is difficult to process.

“It’s really hard to not look around the fire house without seeing something that he had a part of or contributed to,” he said.

He did “a phenomenal job“ when he led the Fairfield Fire Department’s union, Bennett said.

“In the years that he was president, the one thing he enabled us to do was to maintain a very productive relationship between the management team and the bargaining unit.

“We both had our jobs to do, but at the end of the day you were still friends and that meant a lot,” he said.

As deputy fire chief, Bennett said Wagner “did a masterful job” managing the EMS operations of the department and he brought in a number of grants. Bennett said he was “so proud” to hand over the grant writing to Wagner because he was very successful.

There is a “considerable void,” he said.

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