After 37 years of service, Waltham Fire Lt. William MacDonald is retiring on Sept. 25.
MacDonald, the most senior member of the department and a fourth generation Waltham firefighter, will wrap up his tenure with a tour of duty on Engine 8 at the Trapelo Road station , according to a fire department press release.
One week into after becoming a firefighter in 1975, MacDonald fought his what the department called his most memorable fire at the Storer Estate, a 26-room mansion on the grounds of the Paine Estate. MacDonald and other firefighters wre dispatched to a report of a brush fire but quickly found the mansion was on fire.
The memory of another fire still sticks with him -- a Williams street fire in which two children died, according to the fire department.
“On this job as a firefighter you learn to handle death but when it involves a child and you are a parent, it really hits close to home,” said MacDonald.
Also, MacDonald, while off-duty, once saved a man at Lazazzero Park who was having a heart attack, according to the fire department.
MacDonald, a 1966 Waltham Vocational High School graduate, joined the department in 1975 after completing basic fire training 1975, according to the fire department. He served at the Lexington Street headquarters, Engine 4 and the Moody Street station during his career. He also served 18 years as an the aide to deputy chief. In October of 2011, MacDoanld was promoted to lieutenant and moved to Engine 8, where he will retire.
Before joining the fire department, MacDonald served in the U.S. Air Force and worked for the MBTA, according to the fire department.
MacDonald's family has a long tradition of fire service. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather all served as Waltham firefighters as did two uncles, his brother and cousin, according to the fire department. MacDonald's son William and nephew Jeffrey MacDonald are currently serving as Waltham firefighters.
While MacDonald said he would be happy to stay with the fire department, he wants to spend more time with his family. He won't vanish from the city though -- he is staying on as treasurer of the Waltham Municipal Employees Creduit Union and chairman of the Waltham Retirement Board.