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Capt. Bill Taff Retires After 39-Year Career with Santa Barbara City Fire Department

The veteran, known for his calm demeanor, provided a steady hand during several of the community's biggest emergencies

Wednesday marked a milestone in the career of Capt. Bill Taff and the members of the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

Taff has closed out an amazing 39-year career. At 8 a.m. Wednesday, went off duty for the last time from Fire Station No. 6 on Santa Barbara’s Mesa.

After serving for four years in the U.S. Air Force, Taff was hired as a firefighter by the City of Santa Barbara on April 16, 1972. He was promoted to engineer on Nov. 1, 1975, and then promoted to captain on Aug. 9, 1980.

Taff’s 39 years with the Santa Barbara City Fire Department have encompassed many of its greatest emergency challenges — the Harbor Restaurant fire, the Sycamore Canyon Fire, the Chrysler-Plymouth fire, the 1983 flood/heavy surf damage, the County Bowl Fire, the Painted Cave Fire, the Stearns Wharf Fire and the Santa Barbara Bank & Trust fire. On many of these Taff came in on an off-duty day and made his way to the scene to help.

Among the men and women of the Santa Barbara City Fire Department, Taff is known for many things: his calm demeanor at emergencies, his knowledge of the job, the ability to train newer employees, and the honesty and fairness he exhibits when working with others. He is truly a firefighter’s firefighter. He set a standard of personal and professional integrity that honors his family and the fire service.

Taff is a devoted husband and father to five children — Donald, Becky, Andrew, James and Carrie. He has 14 grandchildren. Taff and his wife, Lisa, will celebrate 43 years of marriage this year.

Taff’s hobbies include hunting, fishing, surfing, water and snow skiing and playing the guitar, and he volunteered as a Scout Master with the Boy Scouts for many years.

— Michael de Ponce represents the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

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