After nearly 27 years of service, Lieutenant Adam Bauer retired from the Madison Fire Department this summer, wrapping up a career he'll remember as "honorable" and "an awesome privilege."Lt. Adam Bauer standing in front of Engine 12

Bauer joined the MFD on September 9, 1996. He came to the department with a diverse portfolio of work experience behind him, ranging from masonry, bartending, and selling jewelry, to working as a certified nursing assistant. But it was his time as an emergency room technician that drew him to a career in fire/EMS.

"There's an excitement level to it, along with the team aspect of working together with people," said Bauer. "I've always worked in a social team atmosphere and always really enjoyed it."   

His career was spent at fire stations across the city, including Stations 9 and 2 on the west side, Stations 3 and Station 8 on the east side, and Station 6 on the south side. Along the way, he served as a firefighter, paramedic, apparatus engineer, and lieutenant. At various points in his career, he was also a member of the Hazardous Incident Team, Rapid Intervention Team, and Heavy Urban Rescue Team, and was part of the Fire Training Division for a short time. He remembers most fondly his time at Station 3, which was home to the Rapid Intervention Team at the time.

"It was good training, and of course the station itself is my favorite in Madison. It's got the most soul. It's a classic fire station," said Bauer of the Williamson Street firehouse. "It was a lot of fun."

Bauer, a Madison native who spent his early childhood on the near east side, remembers growing up not far from Station 3. "I've seen the neighborhood change a little bit, but it's largely the same. It was fun to move back and serve the neighborhood."
A view of the apartment complex on Apollo Way being consumed by fire
A fire on Apollo Way on August 8, 2014 is remembered as one of
the most significant of Bauer's career. "Thankfully no one was hurt,"
said Bauer.
One of the most memorable calls of his career occurred in August 2014, when a massive blaze consumed the construction site of an apartment complex in development on Apollo Way, on the far east side.

"It was THE biggest amount of fire that I witnessed, ever," Bauer recalls. "Thankfully on that day, the wind was not blowing out of the usual westerly direction. I think it was easterly that day, which was really impactful because that would have been a conflagration that could have taken out the neighborhood with radiant heat, melted siding, et cetera. Crews burned their hands on the engine panels."

While Bauer held several ranks and served many roles in the fire suppression and specialty service spheres of the Madison Fire Department, he felt a particular draw to the medical side as well.

"I don't know that people realize the quality of paramedic service available here in Madison," said Bauer. "There are higher-skilled medical professionals that do not get the amount of responsibility bestowed on paramedics. You're given a lot of responsibility and it's a lot to decipher."

Medical calls make up about 75% of the emergency calls MFD responds to each year, on average, and they occur at all hours of the day and night. So what's Lt. Bauer looking forward to the most in retirement?

"Sleeping. Sleeping on a regular basis!" he said with a laugh. More time with family and home improvement projects are also at the top of the list.

Happy to go out on a high note, Bauer appreciates being able to retire in good health, with much to look forward to in the next chapter.

"You can't buy time," he said. "You can't take it with you."
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