PITTSBURG, Kan. — After nearly 20 years with the Pittsburg Fire Department, Chief Mike Simons is retiring. City officials recognized Simons this week for his decades of service.

At Tuesday’s city commission meeting, Pittsburg Mayor Dawn McNay read a proclamation declaring Sept. 22, 2020 as Fire Chief Mike Simons Day.

City Manager Daron Hall also thanked Simons and presented him with a Key to the City of Pittsburg.

"It’s been my pleasure to work with you sir," Hall said. "You’ve done an excellent job. Congratulations, and you’re a good friend, I’m going to miss you."

Simons, who was accompanied at the ceremony by members of the Fire Department, also thanked city officials, the community, and his colleagues.

"I’m surprised and humbled, to say the least," he said.

"I wanted to say thank you to the community for their support. Man, they just pour it in year after year for police and fire, and that’s phenomenal. I feel we are truly blessed here. I don’t think that’s normal everywhere. We truly are blessed by our community support," Simons said.

"Most importantly, I've always worried about my guys. That’s the main thing, and all my successes would not be possible without these gentlemen right behind me. They’re the real core. They’re the real deal. Thank you."

Pittsburg Fire Marshal and Safety Coordinator Tom Vacca will begin serving as interim fire chief effective Sept. 26. In mid-October, Dennis Reilly, a fire service veteran with more than 44 years of experience at fire departments throughout the country, will take over as fire chief.