Veteran Apple Valley firefighter hanging up his helmet
Dan Engel has served alongside his twin brother Joel since 1977
One of Apple Valley’s longest serving firefighters is hanging up his helmet this week.
Dan Engel, assistant chief of operations and equipment, will retire Wednesday after more than 34 years with the Apple Valley Fire Department.
Engel, known around the fire station by the nickname “Chief 4,” joined the volunteer department in June 1977 with his twin brother, Joel. They were 18 at the time.
Engel’s involvement with the Apple Valley Fire Department has been a family affair from the beginning.
The twins grew up hanging out around the fire station, as their dad, Larry, was on the department from 1967 to 1980.
Engel’s wife, Barb, served on the Fire Department Auxiliary for many years, and his son, David, was an Apple Valley firefighter until his full-time job required him to move away from the city.
Over the years Engel has served as captain, district chief and assistant chief. He and Barb have been co-chairs of the Apple Valley Firefighters Relief Association’s annual booya fundraiser, and he currently is the head cook for the event.
The nickname Chief 4 began simply as Engel’s radio call sign, but he took a liking to the moniker and it eventually became the name by which other firefighters address him, on and off the radio.
“For whatever reason, he just gravitated to using it for everything,” Apple Valley Fire Chief Nealon Thompson said. “He even uses it to sign his paperwork.”
With Engel’s retirement this week, his brother Joel will hold the distinction of being the longest-serving active duty member of the department.
Apple Valley firefighters past and present plan to honor Engel at a private reception March 10.