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Long-time fire official is retring

The city’s assistant fire chief is calling it quits.

Moses Bell, 58 is retiring after more than a quarter of centuryof service in the Brookhaven Fire Department.

Bell said his plans are not completely set, but he will take afew months off and then consider some job offers.

“I might go into a taxi cab service, but many jobs have beenoffered to me, both part-time and full-time,” he said. “I plan torelax for a while first, though.”

The taxi service Bell is considering would not be a typicalpassenger service. He wants to take the elderly places and spendtime with them.

“I don’t care if I never make another penny,” he said. “I knowthey get good service at the centers, but I want to take themaround and show them things. I want them to know they’re notforgotten.”

Bell said he would also like to spend more time with his family,wife Cheryl and children Darico, Lastangla, Christopher andNatasha. In Christopher’s case, that means he will travel.Christopher is in the Navy and stationed aboard the aircraftcarrier U.S.S. Stennis, home ported in San Diego.

His last official day is Aug. 31, Bell said, but he tookvacation time to make Friday, Aug. 7, his last day in the office.As the city’s fire inspector, he has some projects he wants tocomplete before he leaves, though, and said he may come in today tofinish up.

“I know some people are going to say I’m crazy, but I believe infinishing a job I’ve started,” he said.

“The job” started in 1977 when Bell left employment with PackardElectric and working security for Jacobsen Lawnmower to become afirefighter under Fire Chief Raymond Tardo.

In 1983, while serving under Fire Chief T.L. Lea, Bell waspromoted to fire inspector, a position he has held since. He becamethe assistant chief in 1987 when Mayor Bill Godbold promoted him tothe position and selected Paul Cartwright as chief. Godbold’sselection made Bell the first black assistant chief inBrookhaven.

“Paul Cartwright and I became chief and assistant chief the sameday and at the same hour,” Bell said.

The retiring assistant chief said in all the years of workingwith Cartwright the two have remained friends and never had aserious disagreement.

“I will miss my fellow employees. I will miss the camaraderie,”Bell said. “I would like to thank the many people who accepted me.I tried to do the best I could at my job and I will support thenext inspector who succeeds me.”

As assistant chief, Bell was in charge of the Toys For TotsChristmas program. He said he plans to continue to provide thatservice.

“I may not be able to do as much, but I will do them. I mighteven be able to do it more effectively. I’m looking forward to it.Don’t give up on me,” he joked.

Bell served the Brookhaven Fire Department for 25 years and ninemonths.