Buckeye Fire Chief dies of COVID-19 complications; remembered as a community pillar

Community members and coworkers of Buckeye Fire Chief Bob Costello came to pay their respects on Wednesday after he died due to COVID-19 complications on April 8.

The chief had won numerous awards for his service over the years. Friends say, for him, the real joy in his job came from interacting with others in the community and helping them in any way he could.

Costello was a man who devoted much of his life to serving others, and the community members who he worked to keep safe for so many years bid him farewell on Wednesday at the Thompson Funeral Chapel.

"He was very much about community and a large number of people are feeling his loss," says Robert Garza, a paramedic.

Just a few weeks ago, Costello was helping give out COVID-19 vaccines at his firehouse, providing updates to the city’s executive team and making sure that the city was following CDC guidelines.

That's until he came down with the virus.

Buckeye Fire officials say he died on April 8 from cardiac arrest due to complications from COVID-19.

"A very tough loss to the fire department. His style of leadership in the fire service, a very good blend of old school and new style. Proactive visionary leadership," Garza said.

He taught lessons that apply not just in the field, but in every aspect of life, like thinking of others above yourself and working to create a better tomorrow for people you may never meet again.

They’ll always remember him telling them to do the right thing, Garza says, adding, "And we’re gonna carry that forward, instill that in the new generations that come."

Funeral services were held on Thursday at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Peoria.

Buckeye Fire Chief Bob Costello Funeral Service

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