Remembering Chief Robert Schwanzl
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - He was on the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department 40 years and ran the Toledo Firefighters Museum for decades. Assistant Chief (Retired) Robert Schwanzl left a lasting impact on the fire department and the community.
Chief Schwanzl first joined the ranks of the Toledo Firefighters in 1958. He officially retired 40 years later in 1998. However, he continued to address each class of recruits as the President of the Toledo Firefighters Museum. He took that position in 1993 and continued in the role until his death in July of 2020.
Current Deputy Chief Rick Syroka says Chief Schwanzl was responsible for ushering in a new era to the department. He effectively worked to get Toledo firefighters licensed for EMS. It changed the name of the department from TFD (Toledo Fire Department) to TFRD (Toledo Fire and Rescue Department).
That name change is now reflected in the updated memorial downtown. Chief Schwanzl never got to see the new lettering in person. It was changed in May of 2020. He passed away less than two months later.
Firefighters lined Detroit Ave. at Glendale outside Station 21 to give a final salute, accompanied by a ceremonial ringing of the bell as the funeral procession passed by July 16, 2020.
Chief Robert Schwanzl was 87.
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