Late Buckeye fire chief receives posthumus honor

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The Arizona State Fire School recently honored late Buckeye Fire Chief Bob Costello, along with Northwest Fire District Chief Jeff Piechura, as the 2021 Firefighters of the Year.

Both men literally ended their careers “with their boots on,” according to a news release.  Costello passed away from complications from COVID-19. Piechura died in a plane crash while doing reconnaissance on the Cedar Basin Fire.

The award exemplifies the character, commitment and compassion that are the hallmarks of the firefighting profession. The hard work and outstanding efforts of Costello throughout his career will have positive impacts on Buckeye for years to come, the release states.

Costello joined the Buckeye Fire Department in 2004 and became Fire Chief in 2008. He was instrumental in helping get multiple fire stations constructed for the department to ensure the best service possible for the city's now 100,000 residents.

Throughout his career, Costello achieved recognition for various awards and innovative programs, including the implementation of the Community Para-medicine Program, in coordination with Banner Estrella Medical Center.

A few other achievements from Costello are:

  • Serving on the state’s Emergency Medical Services Council from 2001 – 2004, and from 2016 to his last appointment by Governor Ducey in 2020.
  • Exemplary Service to Humanity by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion, February 2019.
  • Dr. Paul Johnson Award presented by Abrazo West Campus in May 2016.
  • Buckeye Heroism Award from the Buckeye Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2016.
  • Serving as a member of the Patient Family Advisory Council at Banner Estrella Medical Center.

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