After three decades immersed in a career he describes as rewarding, challenging, and gratifying, Captain Todd Steyer retires from the Madison Fire Department.
Steyer first took interest in emergency medical service in 1981 while a member of the National Ski Patrol, working alongside a number of EMTs rendering aid to injured skiers.
“I really liked caring for people. I liked the technical aspect of moving injured persons in a toboggan, working in conjunction with other teammates, down the hill,” Steyer said.
The experience set him up for the fulfilling career ahead in fire and EMS.
A native of Lake Delton, Steyer became an EMT and joined the Kilbourn Volunteer Fire Department in 1985. After some additional time as a volunteer firefighter and EMT with the Lake Delton Fire Department and Ambulance Service, he aspired to make a professional career of it. On June 1, 1987, he came aboard the MFD.
After graduating Madison’s Recruit Academy, his newly-acquired skills were immediately put to the test. Assigned to Fire Station 2 on the west side, Steyer’s shift began at 7:00 a.m. At 7:15 a.m., his crew was dispatched to a structure fire — on his very first day.
“I still remember what it was like getting my gear on, responding to the call, the adrenaline rush,” Steyer recalls. “We had a very thorough training academy, so I felt comfortable. You’ve trained for what you’re expected to do, and it was time to put that training into action.”
Steyer remained on the west side as he eventually transitioned to Fire Station 9 on Midvale Boulevard. He then became a paramedic in 1991, an assignment that took him east of the Capital to Rescue 3 on Williamson Street. He later moved on to Station 4 before earning a promotion to Lieutenant in 1999.
Through the course of his career, he’s served on several special teams, including High-Angle Rescue (now part of the Heavy Urban Rescue Team), Rapid Intervention Team, and the Hazardous Incident Team. In 1995, he joined the MFD Honor Guard.
“I had no military background, and the current military members had a real project at hand to teach me to march in cadence,” Steyer says with a laugh.
But he caught on, and he says being a part of the Honor Guard was very rewarding, yet emotional at times, particularly when assignments brought them to funeral services for those who had passed on.
In 2001, while serving as a station officer at Fire Station 3, Steyer met a citizen named Barbara Lee, who felt compelled to do something for the benefit of firefighters following the attacks against the World Trade Center on 9/11/01.
After selling red, white, and blue lapel ribbons to raise money for the New York Firefighter’s 911 Disaster Relief Fund, Lee brought her donation to Station 3. That’s when Steyer purchased a ribbon of his own, a remembrance of those who did not make it home. He carries it with him to this day.
Over the years, his journey as a firefighter, paramedic, and lieutenant afforded him the opportunity to serve at almost every fire station in the city. He, along with two other lieutenants, was also selected to open Fire Station 12 when it began operating in 2009.
* * * * * *
Looking for the next challenge, Steyer pursued his interest in fire investigation and became Captain of the Fire Investigation Division in 2014, a position that kept him intrigued for the remainder of his career.
“Determining origin and cause of a fire is similar to solving a big puzzle,” Steyer says of the process, which consists of conducting interviews, understanding fire behavior, analyzing burn patterns, collecting significant additional data, collecting evidence, and then putting all the pieces together. Then you have to make sure the circumstances are consistent with witness statements.
As he takes stock of his thirty-year career at the Madison Fire Department, Steyer is grateful to have made a positive impact in people’s lives. He credits family friends who served as mentors early on, during his volunteer days, for inspiring him to pursue this line of work.
Though he says he has a list of home projects to tackle, he’d rather grab his tackle box. An avid fisherman, he’ll now have the time to enjoy that and other hobbies, including golfing, hunting, and snowmobiling. And he looks forward to sharing more memories with his wife and his two daughters, who both attend UW-La Crosse.
“I am so appreciative and feel so honored and fortunate to have been selected to be a member of the Madison Fire Department,” Steyer went on to say. “It is a great organization and what makes it great are the talented, caring, and compassionate members.”
Steyer also wishes to thank City leaders, Fire Administration Command Staff, the Administrative Support Staff, his current and past co-workers, and Fire Fighters Local 311 for their support, trust, and friendships.
“It is the biggest extended family anyone could possibly imagine.”
Steyer wraps up his career on June 1, 2017 — thirty years, to the day, from when he started.
“It’s a great career,” he says with a smile. “This is bittersweet.”
Steyer at Fire Station 2 (July 15,1989);
Photo of Steyer and Barbara Lee (originally published in "The Capital Times," Sept. 17, 2001)
Subscribe to Email List
- Home Fire Sprinklers: A Small Investment That Could Save Your Life
- New Aerial Platform Ladder Truck Hits The Road On Madison's West Side
- Show Us Your Smarts: Take the Home Fire Sprinkler Quiz!
- Fire Sprinkler Protection: See the Difference!
- Hiding In Plain Sight: Choosing Concealed Fire Sprinklers
- The Truth About Home Fire Sprinklers
- Seconds Matters: How Home Fire Sprinklers Save Lives
- FREE! Madison Women In Fire/EMS Workshop
- Meet Firefighter Michael Samosky
- Meet Firefighter Nickolas George
- Meet Firefighter Desmond Leidich
- Meet Firefighter Kyle Kampmeier
- Meet Firefighter Jonathan Clinkscale
- Meet Firefighter John Clooten
- Meet Firefighter McKinnan Stamschror
- Meet Firefighter Ryan Raisbeck
- Meet Firefighter Daniel Ramirez
- Meet Firefighter Brett Bower
- Meet Firefighter Bryce Powell
- Meet Firefighter Daniel Congdon
- Meet Firefighter Larry Moen
- Meet Firefighter Charles Campbell
- Meet Firefighter Casey Endres
- Meet Firefighter Benjamin Nevarez
- Recruit Class 6 Reports For Duty
- New Solar Panels Installed At Fire Station 12
- Fire Prevention Week: Fire Prevention Quiz
- Fire Prevention Week: Easy-To-See House Numbers Help Us Find You Faster!
- Fire Prevention Week: Practice Your Escape Plan!
- Fire Prevention Week: How To Make A Home Fire Escape Plan
- Fire Prevention Week: Every Second Counts -- Know 2 Ways Out!
- Now Accepting Firefighter Applications!
- CampHERO for Women Coming Up Saturday!
- A 'Thank You' Note To Our Partners On Stratton Way
- Madison Launches 'PulsePoint Verified Responder' Pilot Program
- Mesothelioma Awareness Day a Time to Reflect on Cancer Risk, Prevention
- Meet Lieutenant Jeffery Vogen
- Meet Lieutenant Chris Hammes
- Meet Lieutenant Wes Ecker
- Meet Lieutenant Chris Carbon
- Meet Lieutenant Linnea Anderson
- Meet Lieutenant Dan Williams
- MFD Introduces Six New Lieutenants!
- Upcoming Community Events!
- ER Docs Dive Into Firefighting During 'Doc Ops Day'
- MFD Lends Helping Hand At Gilbert Brown Football Camp
- Special Delivery: “Beltline Jax” Makes A Grand Entrance
- New Lease On Life: Oregon Man Reconnects With Crew That Helped Save Him
- 235 New Smoke Alarms Move Into Sherman Terrace!
- Captain Todd Steyer Wraps Up A Fulfilling 30-Year Career With MFD
- Calling All Volunteers! CampHERO Kicks Off Its 6th Season
- EMS Q&A: Where can I learn CPR?
- EMS Q&A: Did you know MFD paramedics are also firefighters?
- EMS Q&A: What should I expect after calling for an ambulance?
- EMS Q&A: What’s the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic? How many paramedics are on duty?
- EMS Q&A: Why does a fire truck come when I call for an ambulance?
- Meet Firefighter Maj-Britt Williams
- Meet Firefighter Adam Thimmig
- Meet Firefighter Ruth Savard
- Meet Firefighter Mike Reisman
- Meet Firefighter Trent Meicher
- Meet Firefighter Jonathon McCray
- Meet Firefighter Adam Lesser
- Meet Firefighter Patrick Johnson
- Meet Firefighter Kyle Homan
- Meet Firefighter Joe Gangler
- Meet Firefighter Justin Fehrenbach
- Meet Firefighter Matthew Dykstra
- Meet Firefighter Brandon Douglas
- Meet Firefighter Tamara Dinkel
- Meet Firefighter Marta Darrow
- Meet Firefighter Davy Calkins
- Meet Firefighter Ryan Beckwith
- MFD Introduces 18 New Firefighters!
- A Greener Firehouse: How Fire Station 12 LEEDs the Way
- Meet AE Brad Vogen
- Meet AE Vince Soto
- Meet AE Chad Powell
- Meet AE Daniel Pazurek
- Meet AE Todd Mahoney
- Meet Apparatus Engineer Cole Christenson
- Meet AE Derek Brown
- New Apparatus Engineers Now Serving In Your Neighborhood!
- Dane County EMS Banquet Honors Survivors, Responders Involved In Cardiac Saves
- On This Day In History: The First 911 Call Is Placed In 1968
- PHOTOS: Getting Up Close With The Lake Rescue Team
- Sable Flames "Second Alarm" Benefit Enters Its 24th Year
- Madison's Iranian Community Comes Together To Honor Firefighters
- Building Connections, Inspiring Kids: Engine 12 At Olson Elementary School
- Welcome Home: Cooper's Hawk Returns To Willy Street
- The Results Are In: 91 Donations Collected During the “Never Forget” Blood Drive
- Meet AE Ethan Dade
- Meet AE Wade Raddatz
- Meet AE Lance Radock
- Meet AE Jacob Conner
- Meet AE Dan Smith
- Meet AE Kevin Hembrook
- National Preparedness Month: Special Needs Disaster Planning
- Meet AE Tom Winter
- Meet AE Lori Karst
- MFD Introduces Eight New Apparatus Engineers
- Reflections On This 15th Anniversary Of 9/11
- Generous Grant Brings New "Jaws Of Life" Equipment To Ladder 6
- National Preparedness Month: Creating Communication and Evacuation Plans
- National Preparedness Month: Don't Wait. Communicate.
- Project SOAR and the MFD
- “Doc Ops Day” Gives ER Docs A Taste Of Firefighter Life
- Two Years After Accident, Family And First Responders Celebrate 'A Miracle'
- Madison Fire Aims To Keep Injuries Well Under Par At PGA Championships
- “It’s Been A Great Ride," Says Retiring Driver John Lucille
- A Thank-You Gift For All To Enjoy
- “Friday Nights At the Y” Returns In 2016
- Meet Lt. Lisa Becher
- Meet Lt. Derek Teff
- Meet Lt. Casey Preimesberger
- Resources For Candidates Preparing For the Physical Ability Test
- Meet Lt. Sue Juedes
- Meet Lt. Ted Higgins
- Meet Lt. Matthew Mialik
- Meet Lt. Michael McCartney
- MFD Introduces Seven New Lieutenants
- Inside The Galaxie: Making Madison's Newest High Rise Safer For All
- Edgewood Students Donate Stuffed Animals For Kids Experiencing Trauma
- Apparatus Engineer "Recon Bob" Says Goodbye After 25 Years Of Service
- New Boat Enhances MFD Lake Rescue Capabilities
- With Gratitude, Division Chief Ron Schwenn Bids Farewell To the MFD
- New Training Technology Aims to Offer Full Immersion, Minus the Risks
- In the Midst Of Transitions, Our Crews Don't Miss A Beat
- Finance Manager Rita Johnson Retires After 44 Years With the City
- Farewell to West District Captain Tom Reiter
- Meet Firefighter Caluster Buie
- Meet Firefighter Steven Foulks
- Meet Firefighter Richard Miyagawa
- Meet Firefighter Joshua Balli
- Meet Firefighter Matthew Boyle
- Meet Firefighter Oscar Castillo
- Meet Firefighter David Bartkowiak
- Meet Firefighter Christopher Staveness
- Meet Firefighter Michael Guerten
- Meet Firefighter Marcus Bobholz
- Meet Firefighter Joshua Ramsey
- Meet Firefighter Michael Olson
- Meet Firefighter Eric Popovich
- Meet Firefighter Paul Schecklman
- Meet Firefighter Brian Tremain
- Meet Firefighter Cameron Gasaway
- Meet Firefighter Vaughn Brockel
- Why We Do What We Do: Remembering the Our Lady of the Angels Fire
- Meet Firefighter Brian Bieganski
- Farewell To AASPIRE Intern Casey Tubbs
- Meet Lt. Tim Hagen
- Meet Lt. Jeff Mast
- Meet Lt. Matt Thomas
- Meet Lt. AJ Greenlee
- Meet Lt. Chris Homman
- Join The Team Current News
- MFD Introduces Five New Lieutenants
- Saving Santa at Station 3
- MFD Mailbag: Kudos For the Crew of Engine 7A
- Madison Fire Recruit Class 4 Begins
- MFD Begins Serving Towns of Blooming Grove, Burke Today
- The Madison Fire Department Prepares For Inaugural "Shake the Lake" Event
- The Heavy Urban Rescue Team Practices Life-Saving Skills
- Safety Saturday 2015: A Day In Photos
- Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Boss Lift
- Firefighter Fun Day 2015 is Saturday, August 8
- Retired Firefighter Tim Healy Inducted Into Madison Sports Hall Of Fame
- Firefighter Ty Stebbins Sworn In
Emergency Medical Services
- A Day In The Life Of A Madison Firefighter
- Alix Olson Award
- Awards & Recognition
- Battle Of the Badges
- Black History Month
- Cancer Prevention
- Community Outreach
- Dane County Public Safety Communications
- Fire Academy
- Fire Prevention Division
- fire prevention month
- Fire Prevention Week
- Fire Safety School Tours
- Fire Stations
- Firefighter Fun Day
- Friday Nights at the Y
- Hazmat Team
- Heavy Urban Rescue Team
- Hiring & Promotions
- Home Fire Sprinklers
- Join the Team
- Lake Rescue Team
- Madison Fire EMS
- Meet the MFD
- Mesothelioma Awareness Day
- MFD Behind the Scenes
- MFD Mailbag
- MFD Prevention Division
- National Preparedness Month
- Our Lady Of the Angels
- public health
- Public Safety
- Sable Flames
- Safety Town
- Shake the Lake
- The American Center
- Training & Professional Development
- UW Health
- Wanda Fullmore Youth Internship Program
- Winter Safety