MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After more than 40 years in the department, the Minneapolis Fire Chief is ready for retirement.

On Monday, Chief John Fruetel will step down as chief. He’s led Minneapolis Fire through a number of major events in the city.

“You’ve been more than a colleague you’ve been a true friend,” said council member Andrea Jenkins during Friday’s council meeting.

Even while they work out their city budget differences, council members and Mayor Jacob Frey are on the same page when it comes to Chief Fruetel.

“He’s a strong leader who has invested in this department and building. His heart is just so big,” said Mayor Frey.

Chief Fruetel joined the department in March of 1979. He was an emergency response leader during the 35W bridge collapse, and as fire chief, has guided the city through some of its most difficult moments. More recently, the tragic Cedar Riverside fire last Thanksgiving and the Drake Hotel fire on Christmas Day. He was also a leader during the riots and fires on Lake Street last spring. Freutel thanked his staff and his family for supporting him through it all.

“I’d like to thank this council, this city and most importantly this mayor for finally giving me the opportunity to thank you all for letting me live my dream,” said Fruetel.

Fruetel spoke highly of the man set to replace him. Bryan Tyner will go from assistant chief to the second black chief in city history.

“Mostly joy, excitement and I’m very humbled by this opportunity,” said Tyner.

Tyner said he hopes to continue what his predecessor built– and respond to a city looking to heal.

“There have been a lot of challenges we’ve faced here in the last 12 months but we have survived through it. I think we are well-positioned to move forward,” said Chief Tyner.

Tyner grew up in North Minneapolis. He credits Chief Fruetel with creating one of the most diverse administration’s in the history of the fire department.

John Lauritsen