Jack McElfish, Sandy Springs Fire Chief

Sandy Springs Fire Chief Jack McElfish plans to retire in October, the city announced.

McElfish, 69, started the Sandy Springs fire department in 2006 and has been its only chief.

“I have been blessed to work around some great mentors and friends in the fire/rescue service and have accomplished far more than I could have ever imagined, but it is time for me to take it a little easier, enjoying more time with family,” McElfish said in a city press release Jan. 17 announcing his retirement.

McElfish worked for more than  40 years in fire service. He served as a fire chief for 33 years, working five different municipalities, including Gwinnett and Clayton Counties in Georgia; Richmond, Va.; and Wallingford, Conn.

Sandy Springs hired McElfish in July 2006 to set up the fire and rescue department. The department became fully operational on Dec. 29, 2006, the city said.

Under McElfish, the department has received awards such as the “Crown Community” Award by the American City and County Magazine in recognition of the start-up and the department’s innovative emergency medical services program, the city said. The Department also received the “Heart Save Community Award” presented by the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

“Jack did a tremendous job for the City in creating and developing Sandy Springs Fire Rescue as a nationally recognized fire department,” City Manager John McDonough said in the press release. “We are going to miss him.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.