Buffalo Grove Fire Chief Baker to retire; Deputy Chief Kane appointed as successor

After 45 dedicated years in the fire service industry, Fire Chief Mike Baker of the Buffalo Grove Fire Department (BGFD) has announced his upcoming well-deserved retirement, effective Sunday, July 14, 2024. Deputy Chief Lawrence “Larry” Kane will be appointed as Chief Baker’s successor, effective Monday, July 15, 2024, ensuring a continuity of effective leadership in the Fire Department.
“Chief Baker leaves behind a remarkable legacy by his unwavering commitment to public safety and commendable accomplishments throughout his career,” said Village President Eric Smith. “Buffalo Grove is home to the best fire and EMS services you can get, and that can be attributed to Chief Baker’s leadership and the incredible Department he’s cultivated.”
After 34 years of service, Baker joined BGFD as Deputy Chief in 2013 and was promoted to Fire Chief in 2015.
“I am immensely thankful for the support, camaraderie and opportunities for growth that I have experienced during my time here in Buffalo Grove. I especially want to extend my deepest gratitude to the residents of Buffalo Grove, as their support and trust is the foundation upon which we provide the highest level of medical, suppression and prevention services. Working for such a wonderful community has been the highpoint of my fire service career and I will be forever grateful.”
As Chief Baker embarks on his retirement this summer, the Buffalo Grove Fire Department looks to the future with optimism and confidence under the capable leadership of Deputy Chief Larry Kane, who will take the reins as Fire Chief on July 15, 2024.  His collaborative approach, coupled with his steadfast commitment to fostering a culture of excellence, has earned him the respect and admiration of his peers.
“I’m grateful for Chief Baker’s guidance and invaluable contributions to the Department, and I’m grateful to Village Board, staff and firefighters for your trust and support,” said Deputy Chief Larry Kane. “I’m honored to serve as Buffalo Grove’s next fire chief, carrying forward a legacy of professionalism and commitment to community service.”
The leadership transition comes at an exciting junction for the Fire Department. Work has been underway to prepare for the next generation of fire and EMS service in Buffalo Grove. In March 2023, BGFD became one of just 11 communities in Illinois to earn international accreditation, ensuring operations are best prepared for risks and challenges of the future. Kane will lead important initiatives including the upcoming Fire Station 25 rebuild, while simultaneously planning for other facility improvements required to modernize equipment and operations.
“Chief Baker is second to none in the fire service, his career has been characterized by a relentless pursuit of excellence and dedication to enhancing emergency management services. He has made Buffalo Grove a better place for our residents and our employees, and we wish him the very best in his retirement,” said Village Manager Dane Bragg. “As we look ahead to the next generation of fire suppression/prevention and EMS services, there is no one better suited than Deputy Chief Kane to lead the Department and meet the evolving needs of the community.”
About Chief Mike Baker
Chief Baker’s career has been distinguished by a series of notable achievements, including his pivotal role in directing municipal emergency management services, overseeing personnel issues and labor negotiations and coordinating fire prevention bureau activities.
His professional journey began as a firefighter/paramedic in the Hanover Park Fire Department in 1979. Baker joined the City of Elgin Fire Department in 1985 as a Firefighter/Paramedic, and over the years rose through the ranks to Interim Fire Chief, which he served as from 2011-2012. He joined the Buffalo Grove Fire Department in 2013 as Deputy Chief and was promoted to Fire Chief and Emergency Management Agency Director in 2015.
Throughout his notable career, Chief Baker has held key educational roles, serving as a senior instructor at the Elgin Regional Fire Academy from 1990 to 2004, and later taking on positions as curriculum coordinator, fire service steering committee member, and fire science/EMS instructor at Elgin Community College between 2013 and 2016. Chief Baker's extensive academic credentials, including a Masters of Public Administration from Northern Illinois University, Masters of Public Administration/Emergency Management from Upper Iowa University and numerous certifications from esteemed institutions like Texas A&M and the National Fire Academy, reflect his unwavering dedication to professional growth and excellence in emergency management.
About Deputy Chief Larry Kane
Deputy Chief Kane brings a wealth of experience and a deep-rooted passion for firefighting to his new role. A third-generation firefighter, Deputy Chief Kane's journey in public service has been characterized by a steadfast commitment to professionalism and continuous learning.
Beginning his career as a police officer before joining the Glenview Fire Department in 2001, Deputy Chief Kane has risen through the ranks, embodying the values of integrity, dedication and service. His extensive educational background, including a Bachelor's in Fire Science Management from Southern Illinois University and a Master's in Public Safety Administration from Lewis University, underscores his commitment to excellence and continuous improvement.
Deputy Chief Kane joined the Buffalo Grove Fire Department as Deputy Chief in 2022, and since, his collaborative approach, coupled with his unwavering commitment to fostering a culture of excellence, has earned him the respect and admiration of his peers.
About Buffalo Grove Fire Department
The Buffalo Grove Fire Department is dedicated to providing professional, efficient, and compassionate fire and emergency medical services to the residents and visitors of Buffalo Grove, Illinois. With a commitment to excellence and a focus on community safety, the department strives to deliver the highest standards of care and service to those in need.