The late Michael FitzSimons
Kildare County Council has paid tribute to former Kildare Fire Chief, Michael FitzSimons, who passed away earlier this week.
“It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of our former colleague and Chief Fire Officer Michael FitzSimons on Monday last 11th September. Michael was the Chief for 27 years retiring in 2010. He loved the fire service and worked tirelessly through his career to develop and modernise it,” said the local authority.
“Never one to shirk from a challenge Michael was faced with one of his most difficult challenges, the Cherryville Train Crash, within weeks of taking up his post in 1983. During his career he had many areas of interest,but some of the constants were ensuring that the service had the best of equipment and vehicles and the ongoing development of procedures for major emergencies.
“It was obvious that the lessons of Cherryville were well learned and Michael was keen to ensure that Kildare Fire Service was well prepared for whatever incident they attended.”
The council said he was a people person.
“He was friendly and affable and drew people to him. He was extremely knowledgeable and was always willing to share his knowledge and insights with his colleagues within Kildare and indeed the wider Fire Service.
“In recent days as we his colleagues, reflect on Michael’s life we all speak of the role he played as a mentor to us. Sometimes it was a subtle suggestion, the significance of which was only realised much later, other times it was straight up advice, always it was thoughtful and fundamentally useful.”
The local authority described the Naas man as a big thinker, who always saw the big picture and then planned and campaigned for it.
“He developed a Control Centre in Newbridge Fire Station that was used to receive emergency calls and mobilise fire service resources. The model he developed was so good that at its height this centre managed the mobilisation of the Fire Service resources of not only Kildare but also Offaly, Laois and Carlow,” said the council.
“He was the Chairman of the Chief Fire Officers Association (C.F.O.A.) from 1998 until 2002 and used this role as a platform to campaign on a national stage for stronger enforcement powers for the Fire Service.
“Michael was a professional and he instilled that sense of professionalism right across his Fire Service. Michael was many things to many people and his loss is deeply felt by all of his colleagues in the Fire Service and Kildare County Council. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”