Radel is a hometown kid who grew up in Hazelwood during his childhood years. He remembers walking through Howdershell Park where the main fire station is now as a young boy when he lived on Teson Road. In 1972, he graduated from Hazelwood High School which was the only high school for Hazelwood School District at that time.
His 33-year career with the Hazelwood Fire Department began in July 1978. “I started working as a firefighter with the rank of private at the age of 24,” Radel said. “Since then, I have served as a backstep firefighter, which is the person who rides backward on the fire truck, rescue squad member, fire inspector, fire captain, deputy chief, and for the past four years, assistant chief.”
Radel sharpened his leadership skills by representing Hazelwood firefighters in the Professional Firefighters of Eastern Missouri-International Association of Fire Fighters Union Local 2665 for 12 years. He also earned his license as an arson investigator from both the Missouri Division of Fire Safety and the State Fire Marshal. In addition, he has qualifications as an emergency medical technician.
“All of these positions combined have given me a wide perspective and valuable experience I hope will serve me well as Fire Chief,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to step into a situation where the department has been managed extraordinarily well by my predecessor. I intend to carry on the department’s tradition of being one of the best fire protection agencies in St. Louis County by never compromising on high-quality equipment or training.”
Radel is in the process of establishing some committees within the department to give him advice on which areas need upgrades or improvements. According to Radel, “Our department has some of the best firefighters and paramedics in the field. I’m extremely confident in their ability to provide Hazelwood residents with fire protection and emergency medical services that are second to none. We will continue setting the bar higher under my watch.”
In reaction to his appointment as permanent fire chief of the Hazelwood Fire Department, Radel said, “I would like to thank everyone for giving me the opportunity to serve in this capacity as fire chief. My family moved to Hazelwood in 1959. I grew up here, and I’ve chosen to raise my children here. I still live four miles down the road from our main engine house. I can’t believe how much I’ve been blessed to have a job that is centered on helping people during their most vulnerable times. It is this same type of attitude I want to instill in every employee of my department.”