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It was an emotional decision for Fire Chief...

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Posted at 4:11 PM, Feb 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 17:47:43-05

“I love this organization, I love the fire service, there are great people working here,” said Fire Chief Bernie Kanger.

Omaha Fire Chief Bernie Kanger will retire in May.

“Plain and simple this was a decision that was made with the best interest of my family in mind,” said Kanger.

April 29th marks 25 years with the department.  Chief Kanger says the option was there to retire at that milestone, but it wasn’t anything planned.  This decision is about family.

“It will allow me the opportunity to spend a lot more quality time with my wife and kids which is very important to me,” said Kanger.

Chief Kanger squashed any rumors that he was leaving to take over as Epply Airfield’s Fire Chief. 

“What I can say is I have not applied for any fire chief jobs anywhere and there is a number of options and a number of things I’m considering once I do officially retire from the city,” said Kanger.

Kanger’s future career may be unclear, but his accomplishments as chief are not.  Mayor Jean Stothert applauded him for getting the budget in order and he has gotten his department some national recognition. 

“Some of the things that people are saying that I accomplished, I didn't accomplish these things, it was a group effort,” said Kanger.

Kanger says what he will miss the most is watching his department succeed.  He’s been in charge during difficult situations like the International Nutrition collapse, the transportation of Ebola patients and most recently the M’s Pub fire. 

“The level of professionalism that the men and women of this organization have is something that the city can be proud of,” said Kanger.