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Chief hanging up fire hat and hitting the highway


Most weekday mornings for many years still find Roy Soracco at the Angels Camp Firehouse on Highway 4, sharing coffee with visitors and planning work for the crew that arrives at 9 a.m.

For 43 years, Soracco has been a volunteer firefighter for the city, the past six as fire chief. But with the city set to hire a new paid chief, Soracco was able to retire in January. He will remain involved in the department, just not in a leadership role.

An insurance agent for 42 years, Soracco also closed his Main Street office last month. The office space, part of the Angels Theater building, is included in the theater's planned expansion.

After more than 40 years being of service in one way or another, Roy Soracco is ready to haul out his road maps.

Come Monday, Soracco and his wife, Loretta, will climb into their 33-foot motor home and head for New Mexico, where they will join the Escapees RV Club for caravan to Mexico City.

"There'll be about 100 of us," Soracco said. "Loretta and I've been doing Escapees since 1996."

Their two toy poodles — Angels and Camp — will hop aboard with them, as they have on many other RV trips.

"I've put 160,000 miles on three RVs since 1986," Soracco said.

After Mexico City, the Soraccos will head for Florida and after that, back to Angels Camp, the place Roy has called home since 1936.

California native

He was born in San Francisco on March 14, 1934, but his father, who was born in Angels Camp, brought the family back to the Mother Lode and a couple generations worth of roots when little Roy was 2.

Soracco's grandfather came to Calaveras County from Italy and settled on Dog Town Road, where he farmed and worked in mines.

Although Soracco grew up in Angels Camp and graduated from Bret Harte High, he often spent time in San Francisco with a socialite aunt who took him to concerts, dinners and other formal gatherings.

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