One of George Kroll's final wishes was to see something he hadn't in years — a shiny, bright red firetruck, once an integral part of his daily life as the former chief of the York City Fire Department.

On Sept. 6, several members of the department surprised him at his Country Meadows residence with a visit from the last fire engine he purchased as chief. 

"It was good to see a smile on his face," said current Chief Chad Deardorff. "He had a lot of love for this department and the City of York." 

Kroll died a week later on Friday, Sept. 13, at the age of 87.

Though Kroll had wanted to sit in the firetruck, Deardorff said he was unable to and instead posed next to it for several photos with a few members of the department. 

"It was a great hour for us," Deardorff said.

Kroll worked with the York City Fire Department for 39 years, first joining in 1956, and served as the fire chief from 1976 to 1995.

"He definitely got a lot of things in motion as far as where we are as a department today," Deardorff said. "As far as history, he was instrumental in (establishing) the Fire Museum." 

Deardorff said he only knew Kroll for a short time, as Kroll retired soon after the younger firefighter joined the department.

Despite this, Deardorff said he knew Kroll had a deep love and care for the fire department. 

Deputy Chief William Sleeger said he worked with Kroll back when he was first hired in 1992.

Though Kroll retired shortly after, Sleeger said it was always a pleasure to see the former fire chief at retirement banquets.

Describing Kroll as a tall, strong individual, Sleeger said he always "commandeered respect" of his peers.

In his free time, Kroll was an avid racquetball player and was a former state champion, according to his obituary. He also served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.

Both Deardorff and Sleeger agreed Kroll's place in the York City Fire Department is unparalleled.  

"This department was his whole life," Sleeger said.

— Reach Tina Locurto at or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.

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