Fire Commissioner Stepping Down

Updated 02/15/12 – 8:02 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is losing his first major cabinet member. CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine has learned that Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff is retiring.

Hoff was one of the few leftovers from the Daley administration. He submitted his resignation on Wednesday.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

He will be replaced by former Office of Emergency Management and Communications boss Jose Santiago, who left OEMC to return to the Fire Department when Emanuel took over as mayor, in part because of problems during the Groundhog Day blizzard last year.

Hoff was one of the most respected firefighters ever to serve as head of the Fire Department. Sources said he’s leaving for personal reasons and not because of any rift with Emanuel.

In fact, sources said, the mayor appeared at Fire Department headquarters Tuesday for the annual ceremonial bell-ringing to commemorate the death of Hoff’s father, also a firefighter, who died in the line of duty 50 years ago.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports Hoff was himself hero firefighter himself before moving up to commissioner, winning the top department award for bravery in 1992 and 1997.

Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 President Thomas Ryan said Hoff’s credentials made him popular with the rank and file.

“He earned the respect of everyone on this job. You know, him and I were obviously were on different sides as commissioners, but all in all, I think he served the city proud,” Ryan siad.

Santiago, like Hoff, is known as a fireman’s fireman.

As one source said, get between him and a burning building and you’re likely to get run over.

A formal announcement about the changes is expected on Thursday.

More from Jay Levine
  • bill yost

    SANTIAGO? You have to be joking. The guy was never on a real fire company, OH, I forgot, neither was Trotter.

    • Rich Savoia

      First of all Mr. Yost one is not the other and there are many members of the Chicago Fire Department who are not on so called real fire companies and yet they too put the community they serve first. This is a man who has raised his family with good values and who has served this country for over 20 years both military and fire department. The city will be lucky to have him lead the fire department.

  • Mike Mullen

    Bob is a tremendous person and a natural leader who all admire.. There has been and will be no better CFD Commissioner. His resignation is a tremendous loss for the City of Chicago.

  • Last of the Americans

    Tell us another bs story,well RAM?

  • Former OEMC Chief Santiago Named New Fire Commissioner « CBS Chicago

    […] Hoff handed in his retirement papers Tuesday, on the 50th anniversary of the death of his father, wh… […]

  • Bill

    You have to have real fires today to make “real firefighters”.Fires are way down,EMS has continually increased in runs and scope.Instead of increasing the Paramedic ambulances,they created 10 for firefighter EMT’s.As the baby boomers retire,EMS will continue to grow.This ain’t your Daddy’s Fire Department anymore!More lives have been saved by Paramedics since their inception than by all the firefighters combined in the last 35 years.A heart attack victims life is no different than one hanging out a window waiting to get rescued!Both jobs are very important,but let’s be truthful!SIGNED,a firefighter from CHICAGO!

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