Boston Fire Photography Legend Takes Up

Boston firefighter and fire photographer Bill Noonan retires after over 30 years.


Bill Noonan has, without dispute, done more for the image of the Boston Fire Department than any other member. After nearly 40 years the department’s top photographer has retired. Noonan started his career in 1971 with Engine 3 in the South End. In addition to being a firefighter he was also a member of the arson team and the department’s chief photographer.

It was on a whim that Bill became the department photographer. In 1978 the department was looking for a fill-in and Bill applied, not expecting to stay in the position forever. Since then he has documented the life of the Boston Fire Department, as well as surrounding departments, including the memorial service for the Worcester 6. His work has also appeared in many Boston newspapers, fire service publications, local and national fire websites and many books of his own, highlighting the Jakes of the Boston Fire Department.

“The old timers always said, ‘Kid, take care because it will go by like the blink of an eye,’ and it did,” he said.

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“Firefighter Retires After 40 Years Of Service”, The Boston Channel
“Fire photographer had a human touch”, The Boston Globe



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1 Comment

  • Jim O'Neill says:

    It is my pleasure and honor to say that I include Bill Noonan as one of my friends. Bill is the type of fellow that can become friends with people at the drop of a hat. No one could have accomplished what Billy has done over the past 40+ years. Enjoy that retirement Bill, you deserve it and you earned it.

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