Longtime Wheeling Fire Chief Keith MacIsaac retiring

Wheeling Fire Chief Keith MacIsaac will end his 30-year tenure leading the department and head into retirement Friday.

Deputy Fire Chief Mike McGreal is scheduled to be sworn in as MacIsaac's replacement Monday. McGreal previously spent 29 years with the Wilmette Fire Department, retiring as chief there in 2017 before joining Wheeling later that year.

Officials thanked MacIsaac for his many contributions, in particular his leadership in fire prevention. He's credited Wheeling becoming one of the first towns in Illinois to require the installation of fire sprinklers in all new homes.

Village Manager Jon Sfondilis said Wheeling has benefited immeasurably from MacIsaac's 30 years of service, in which he became widely recognized as "one of the most distinguished members of his profession."

"Keith has not only provided reliable expertise on all aspects of fire prevention and emergency management, but has also shown an insightful understanding of municipal functions generally, and excellent judgment about how public safety must be balanced and reconciled with other concerns," Sfondilis said in a statement Thursday. "His advice is greatly valued and will be greatly missed."

MacIsaac worked for fire departments in Lake Zurich, Mount Prospect and Buffalo Grove before joining Wheeling. He also spent time as a safety specialist and fire chief/fire protection engineer for Monsanto Co. in Missouri and Louisiana.

In 2011, MacIsaac's insistence on fire safety drew complaints from the Wheeling High School student council. Village board members supported MacIsaac at a meeting when students complained about how he ordered the removal of gossamer paper homecoming decorations after spotting them on a ceiling too close to hot lights while he attended a coronation assembly.

Although the students claimed the decorations were fire retardant, MacIsaac lighted a bit of the paper on fire to show the danger before administrators removed them from the ceiling.

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