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Nevada’s longest-serving firefighter retires after 46 years

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    LAS VEGAS (KVVU) — The longest-serving firefighter in Nevada wrapped up a 46 years of service with a sendoff at Las Vegas Fire Station 1.

The gathering in the truck bay on Monday brought together friends, family and coworkers recognizing Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Lawrence Wickliffe.

“My brother-in-law was in the fire service,” said Wickliffe. “I was about to graduate from college where I play football, and this was a physical job. It looks like a great opportunity. So that’s what got me started that’s what got me motivated in this direction,” Wickliffe said.

Since he became a firefighter in the mid-1970s, Wickliffe has seen the fire department grow and change for almost haft a century. When he joined, the department had just begun integrating, women were just finding a place in the department, and Las Vegas had only eight fire stations for the city.

His career has crossed with many pivotal events in Las Vegas history. Wickliffe told FOX5 that he was there for the MGM fire on November 21, 1980, the Hilton fire just 90 days later, and most recently the aftermath 1 October mass shooting.

“It has been very challenging to deal with those issues,” said Wickliffe.

Wickliffe moved up over the chain of command from firefighter, to captain, and in 1993 Battalion Chief. He credits his success to those around him.

“The people that mentored me. The chief officers, the firefighter’s, guys I came through rookie school with, the women coming on the job, all those things I’m very proud of,” Wickliffe said.

During the retirement ceremony, many took the microphone to recount their experiences with the 46-year veteran. Many talked about his devotion to the department and his constant pushing for them to strive to move up in the department. After some awards, warm hugs, and kind words Wickliffe left the podium where he thanked all those who had his back over the year with standing applause from those who have gathered.

“You know a lot of people feel nervous or excited. Where I feel like I done my best I gave my best,” Wickliffe continued. “I helped where I could help. So, it’s exciting in a sense where I’m moving on and I don’t feel sad and I’m not nervous about retirement.”

After retirement, Wickliffe still plans on helping Las Vegas Fire where he can and spending time on his motorcycle hobby.

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