A long-time St. John’s Fire and Rescue Department chief will bid farewell to the department he’s been with for 14 years.

The department announced the departure of Chief Karl Ristow on Wednesday. The 32-year firefighting veteran will be moving to Baltimore, Maryland to support his wife who got a job there, he said.

Ristow is a retired U.S. Air Force firefighter who spent 15 years in the military before working in the fire service in South Carolina.

Battalion Chief Jimmy Ghi credited Ristow with modernizing the department, improving their responses, and achieving an automatic aid system with neighboring departments.

“Chief Ristow has also taken a proactive position on fire prevention and public fire education,” Ghi said.

Ristow will be working with the St John’s Fire District Commission in finding his replacement. The commission is expected to conduct a nationwide search and find a new chief in the next 60 to 120 days.

“We’re trying to find someone who’s going to continue the direction of what we’ve been doing here in the region,” Ristow said.

He’d like the new chief to keep the momentum going with the consolidation of dispatch and automatic aid relationships.