Former Ridgefield Fire Chief Richard Nagle died Thursday, Dec. 27, at age 77.
Nagle served as chief of the Ridgefield Fire Department for more than a decade, from 1989 through 2000.
Born and raised in Tarrytown, N.Y., Nagel served in the Tarrytown, White Plains, Croton-on-Hudson and New York City fire departments. He retired as a lieutenant from New York Fire Department before coming to Ridgefield as chief.
“Dick came from the outside, he was in the New York City Fire Department, had retired from there, and applied for the chief’s position and was hired in October 1989 and he served our Town of Ridgefield for the next 11 years, fulfilling the function of chief and leading the department through that decade,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.
Marconi and town Emergency Services Director Dick Aarons attended the wake for Chief Nagle on Saturday in Yorktown.
Marconi said he spoke to Chief Nagle’s wife and children and “expressed on behalf of the Town of Ridgefield our thanks for his years of service on behalf of our community, and our sympathy.”
Memorial Day services
Fire Chief Jerry Myers spoke of Chief Nagle after returning from funeral services for him on Monday.
“He was really a great guy and he brought a lot of organization to the department,” Myers said. “He was one of those guys, as a boss, if you went up there and you had a good argument, he’d be willing to listen and change his mind.”
He said that after retiring, Nagle hadn’t forgotten the Ridgefield department.
“He left here in 2000. Every year we have a Memorial Day service down a the cemetery — it lasts maybe half an hour. He came to every single one of them,” Myers said.
“He came to retirement dinners and stuff. Never lost touch with us.”
He said Chief Nagle had instituted a number of safety practices, including having only “the closest engine” responding to a routine call such as a fire alarm — rather than all of them — travel in emergency mode using lights and sirens.
“Chief Nagle was a safety guy,” he said. “Everybody does that now, but back in 1989, that was big deal.”
Nagle’s career firefighting went side by side with a lifelong love of theater and acting. He was a co-founder of the Mahopac Farm Playhouse and the LaPino Dinner Theater.
Among his many theatrical roles were performances of The Guys, a two-person play about a firefighter writing the eulogies of comrades fallen in 9/11. He performed the play at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md., and also at fire-training centers around New York state and the Northeast.
Up to a few week before his passing, Nagle was in rehearsals for a production of Beauty and the Beast at the White Plains Performing Arts Center.