By Shereen Siewert

The 62-member Wausau Fire Department has a new chief at the helm, two months after Chief Tracey Kujawa retired.

Robert Barteck, who was appointed interim fire chief on April 2, will now head the department. Barteck joined the Wausau Fire Department in 2019 as deputy chief.

“We are thankful for a great internal candidate who is well-positioned to continue leading a best in class fire department for the City of Wausau,” said Police and Fire Commissioner Kathy Strasser.

Barteck grew up in Owen, Wisconsin and credits his father Noel’s selfless service as a Volunteer Firefighter/EMT-Basic on the Owen-Withee-Curtiss Fire Department for inspiring him to pursue a career serving others. Barteck graduated from Fox Valley Technical College in 1993 with an A.S. in Fire Protection Technician. While studying there he interned for one school year at the Oshkosh Fire Department, a role he acknowledges as pivotal for his career path.

After graduating, he was hired by Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department and served that community from 1993 to 2019. Over his 25-plus year career he climbed from Firefighter/Paramedic to Deputy Chief. City officials credit Barteck as the catalyst for many transformational changes within that department.

Barteck, while serving as deputy chief in Wisconsin Rapids, was selected by Kujawa for the deputy chief role.

In 2012 he joined the National Disaster Medical System, Wisconsin-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team as a Paramedic. During his eight years serving on that team he was deployed to several large scale federal disasters and was promoted to the Deputy Team Commander.