In what was clearly not a surprise, long-time Mebane fire chief Bob Louis announced at the beginning of Monday night’s city council meeting that he plans to retire at the end of the year.
The retirement item had been added to the previously circulated council agenda, and it was clear from the fire department presence – three fire trucks parked out in front of city hall and the council chambers ringed by about 20 firefighters – that a significant fire department announcement was planned.
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Louis, who appeared in his dress uniform, has spent his entire firefighting career with the Mebane department, starting in 1993 as a volunteer firefighter before being hired as one of three full-time firefighters in 1994.
Louis rose through the ranks and was appointed the city’s first career fire chief in 2000.
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Firefighters, council members, and the audience gave Louis a standing ovation after his brief remarks announcing his retirement plans.
Louis becomes the second long-time Mebane department head to announce his retirement this year. Long-time police chief Terry Caldwell told the council in January that he will be retiring in July.