Off the Clock: A Maple Grove Chief Retires

A winter day would usually start with getting to the coffee machine as swiftly as possible. Now that he’s retired, former fire chief Scott Anderson can brew his coffee whenever he wants, and put his feet up in front of the fire instead of fighting it.

“Every day is a Saturday,” says Anderson, summing up his day-to-day after leading Maple Grove’s fire department. With a schedule of his own and a phone that doesn’t ring, Anderson is able to avoid the daily grind—including those dreaded emails. “People don’t even know my email address,” he shares.

The former fire chief has been living in Maple Grove with his wife since 1978, when the city was smaller and had fewer stoplights, according to Anderson.

When he started at the fire department, he was the only full-time employee, becoming a jack of all trades. The Maple Grove fire chief wasn’t a position until he was the first. “If something needed to be done in the daytime, I needed to do it,” says Anderson.

“If the truck needed to go in for repair, I brought it in. I went to all of the fires and as we got bigger, we evolved into this fire chief business. We grew substantially in three years and bought all kinds of trucks and hired all kinds of people.”

Now, he spends time working on his hobbies. It’s nothing out of the ordinary for a retiree, but the day-to-day change marks a new chapter in Anderson’s life.

“I’m a relaxer,” Anderson says. “I like to read, resurface furniture, work on cars and see the kids.” His grandson was born last September.

Anderson wasn’t sure what to expect when he stopped going to work on the first day. The only guarantee was freedom from fire alarms. But it was hard to shake the habit of heading to the station each morning. In retirement, he stays just as busy without leaving the house. “Now I have no deadlines, I don’t have to go to work and I hear sirens [and] don’t have to do anything,” he says.

Before Anderson was a fire chief, he worked as a paramedic. Recently he’s been using his car repair skills on a Cadillac ambulance, similar to vehicles he used to work in on his first job. “These cars are old enough that you can’t buy replacement parts,” he says.
While he’s always been a resident, he’ll stick to working under the hood of a few cars instead of heading towards a fire in one. Not to mention spending time with his family, which will be even more abundant once his wife retires. This fire chief is off the clock for good.