Glendale Fire saluted one of its own.
Former Glendale Fire Chief G. Gray Crabtree was honored May 27 with a plaque that acknowledges his extraordinary accomplishments to modernize the department. Family, friends and dignitaries gathered to honor the former chief and to remember his many accolades.
The plaque adorns the north side of Fire Station 151, 6851 N. 52nd Ave., in Glendale.
“Chief Crabtree was a true innovator who left a lasting impression on the entire fire service with his contributions in creating the automatic aide system,” Glendale Fire stated in a news release. “He lobbied for the first state paramedic program and saw the value in putting paramedics on fire trucks. Thus providing advanced life support to the community and saving countless lives. That has since become the standard. There is no measure to the impact that Chief Crabtree had on the Glendale community and the Valley as a whole.”
Chief Crabtree began his career with the department as a firefighter in 1961, and was appointed Chief in 1973.
Glendale Fire illustrated the other ways Chief Crabtree was “the most innovative and influential chief to date in the Glendale Fire Department’s history.”
“Chief Crabtree has been involved in a multitude of firsts: he created the first Hazardous Materials team, he banned smoking in fire stations, and he fostered the fire smoke alarm walk in the community,” the department stated.
Glendale, Phoenix and Tucson would be the first fire departments to complete the inaugural Arizona State Paramedic Program, which Chief Crabtree sponsored. Glendale would later be the first department to have two paramedics on every engine.
Chief Crabtree would ultimately retire from the department in 1989. He passed away in May of 2020.
Today, his granddaughter’s husband is a Captain with Glendale Fire, and his son is Deputy Fire Chief with the Mesa Fire Department.
Vice Mayor Ian Hugh’s donation contributed to the plaque in Chief Crabtree’s honor.