TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Joe King ends 28 years as Pittsburgh firefighters' president

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, July 31, 2014, 10:03 p.m.
 

Joe King called it a career on Thursday night.

Joseph E. King, the fiery, controversial and longtime president of the Pittsburgh firefighters union, has reached the mandatory retirement age of 65.

“I'm done. Today was the last day for me,” King said after swearing in union vice president Ralph Sicuro to replace him as president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local No. 1.

“You look back, and you knew this day was coming,” said King, a 40-year veteran firefighter who became union president 28 years ago.

“For the first time, I can sit back and really enjoy my family, not being responsible for 630 families, 900 veterans and 340 widows,” said King, a Brighton Heights resident.

“I always tried to do the best to protect the firefighters and the people. I did the best I could and think I accomplished that,” said King, who was as well known for battling for the safety, benefits and pensions of union members as he was for delivering union votes for the politicians who supported them.

Sicuro, 42, who was first elected to the union executive board in 2006, is a master firefighter who works out of Engine and Truck Co. 13 in Hazelwood not far from where he grew up. The Lincoln Place resident is a 17-year veteran firefighter, husband, father and grandfather.

“I take this as a huge honor to represent the men and women in the firefighting field,” Sicuro said. “I am really anxious to go to work to protect their rights though things such as collective bargaining, protect their pensions and to protect their health benefits as well as other benefits and working conditions.”

King said he is comfortable with Sicuro leading the union through the changing times and difficult economy, adding the union is “always up to the challenges.”

City emergency dispatchers announced King's retirement shortly after 9:30 p.m. and wished him well, prompting several firefighters to respond over the air with best wishes, good luck, thanks, appreciation and brotherly love.

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell gets suspension, fine reduced
  2. Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
  3. 5 face trial in beating of black man in Pittsburgh
  4. Pitt’s Blair faces court date on DUI charge
  5. Woman charged with assulting cops in wild Strip District dispute
  6. Pittsburgh man jailed on theft, assault and drug charges
  7. Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
  8. Brady’s suspension upheld by Goodell
  9. Inside the Steelers: Ventrone suffers right ankle injury
  10. Gameday: Pirates at Twins, July 29, 2015
  11. Rising East Liberty out of reach for Pittsburgh’s poor