Barrington fire marshall retires after 43 years with department

Lt. James Feit retired from the Barrington Fire Department after 43 years on the job, a feat believed by fire officials to be among the longest tenures in the village's history.

Starting as a part-time employee in his early 20s, Feit, now 65, rose through the ranks to become the village's fire marshal, a job that Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie said Feit excelled at.

"It's the part of fire safety that you don't hear a lot about that has an impact on everything else," Arie said. "He put a heavy emphasis on fire prevention and education."

Arie said Feit was instrumental in the village's passing of a 1995 ordinance that required all Barrington construction projects to come installed with a sprinkler system.

"It is a huge safety improvement in terms of protection and minimal loss," Arie said. "We were the second village in the state to adopt it after Long Grove."

At this week's village board meeting, Village President Karen Darch said she remembered seeing him teach village children about fire safety.

"We knew him as Fireman Jim and he came and told the kids he was taking their cookies," Darch said. "He was always a fun guy with a great sense of humor."

Trustee Jim Daluga thanked Feit for his service as well.

"I hope you have a long and healthy retirement and that you enjoy it to its fullest," Daluga said.

Arie said among the things that the department will miss about Feit is his dedication to safety.

"He always had in the back of his mind the concern and the safety of the firefighters," Arie said. "He always provided our guys with feedback if he thought something was a safety concern. He always very attuned to that and sensitive to that."

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