THE chief officer of Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Tom Carroll, will retire in the autumn. Mr Carroll, 50, pictured right, began his firefighting career in 1977 in Cambridgeshire. He returned to the county's brigade as chief in 2001 after a 10-year spell in Oxfordshire and Northumberland fire and rescue services. The former president of the Chief Fire Officers' Association said it was time to call it a day. "This is my 30th year in the service and my 10th year serving as a chief fire officer, and so I feel it is fitting that this should be the year I hang up the reins and fold away the uniform. "I have thoroughly enjoyed my years in the fire and rescue service and I believe it to be the best in the world. "My 20 years in Cambridgeshire have been extra special and it has been an honour and privilege to have served as chief fire officer here. "I truly believe Cambridgeshire has a fire and rescue service to be proud of. "There is much to be done between now and the autumn and there will be no slowing on my part. "This is a race to the line for me and I look forward to the months ahead leading the service through the challenges we will face, and continuing to improve the service we deliver to the people of Peterborough and Cambridgeshire." A date for Mr Carroll's departure has not yet been set as his successor needs to be found - an advertisement is due to go out at the end of February with the hope of announcing a new chief in May. Councillor Mac McGuire, chairman of the fire authority, which is responsible for recruiting a new chief fire officer, said: "Tom has done a commendable job during his time as chief fire officer, leading the service both locally and nationally through many challenges. "I know I speak for all my colleagues when I say that we wish him a long and healthy retirement. Tom will be a hard act to follow. "As an authority, we look forward to rising to the challenge of appointing a successor who can lead and continue to deliver a quality fire and rescue service to the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in the coming years.