ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The City of Annapolis is mourning the passing of retired Fire Chief Charles H. Steele.
He was the city’s first career fire chief after being appointed by Mayor Joseph Griscom, Sr. in 1964. Chief Steele served until his retirement in 1987.
Annapolis Fire Chief Doug Remaley said that Chief Steele will be greatly missed.
“Chief Steele brought Annapolis into the modern era. He was not only accomplished in the fire service, but he was also a devoted husband, father and community servant. He will be greatly missed,” Remaley said.
Chief Steele began his service to the City of Annapolis as a volunteer firefighter with Rescue Hose Company No. 1 in 1949 at the age of 16 where he worked his way to the rank of Captain.
After graduation from the Annapolis High School and then serving in the United States Navy, he graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Fire Protection Technology. He was hired by the Anne Arundel County Fire Prevention Bureau as a Deputy Chief working on fire investigation and prevention.
Due to fire damage in Annapolis causing insurance rates to increase, he was appointed as the Department’s first career Fire Chief by Mayor Griscom. Chief Steele oversaw the progression of the career fire service in Annapolis and is credited with laying the foundation of the modern-day Annapolis Fire Department.
Chief Steele also served on the Board of Directors of NFPA where he wrote many standards that are still in use by fire departments nationwide.
He was predeceased by his wife, Diane, and leaves behind two daughters and sons-in-law and two grandchildren. His daughter Jeanne works for the Annapolis Fire Department as the Fire Administrative Specialist.