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Longtime fire chief to retire from Wilmington Fire Department

Buddy Martinette has been Wilmington’s fire chief since 2008.
Buddy Martinette has been Wilmington’s fire chief since 2008.(WFD)
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 2:26 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Fire Chief Cecil V. “Buddy” Martinette announced Tuesday that he plans to retire from the Wilmington Fire Department later this year.

Martinette has been Wilmington’s fire chief since 2008.

“Martinette’s last day will be September 11, 2021, a memorable and symbolic day for those in the fire service, and especially for Chief Martinette,” the Wilmington Fire Department said in a news release. “Twenty years ago, he was called upon to run rescue operations at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.”

According to the WFD, Martinette’s professional accomplishments include:

  • being appointed by former Governor Pat McCrory to serve as a Commissioner on the North Carolina State Emergency Response Commission in 2016
  • being appointed by state House Speaker Tim Moore to serve on the North Carolina State 911 Board in 2018
  • his search and rescue experience, which includes the Colonial Heights Wal-Mart Collapse, deployments for hurricanes Floyd, Fran, Frances, Charlie, Ivan, Katrina, and Rita, as well as the Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma and the 9/11 Pentagon collapse.

“I had the honor of appointing Chief Martinette 13 years ago and he has played a vital role leading the modernization of Wilmington’s fire department, opening new fire stations, and improving fire services in our community,” said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo. “He has provided a solid foundation for continued progress. On behalf of the entire city council, I wish him an enjoyable and well-deserved retirement after a long and distinguished career.”

In his retirement, Martinette plans to continue to serve as the Second Vice President on the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs Board, the First Vice President of the Southeastern Association of Firefighters, and a board member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Global Public Safety Solutions Board.

“The men and women of this department are truly amazing, and I will not soon forget their efforts to make our department among the finest in the world,” said Chief Martinette. “I admire and appreciate each and every one of them for the professionalism they display each day and the dedication they have to our profession.”

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