New firefighters sworn in

Jersey City Fire Department reaches historic staffing levels

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New firefighter Hendrick Martinez and his son Niko age 3. Photo by Jen Brown.
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Jersey City Fire Chief Steven McGill welcomed Jeffery Hunter to the department. Photo by Jen Brown.
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32 new firefighters joined the Jersey City Fire Department this month at a swearing in ceremony at City Hall. Photo by Jen Brown.
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New firefighter Hendrick Martinez and his son Niko age 3. Photo by Jen Brown.
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Jersey City Fire Chief Steven McGill welcomed Jeffery Hunter to the department. Photo by Jen Brown.
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32 new firefighters joined the Jersey City Fire Department this month at a swearing in ceremony at City Hall. Photo by Jen Brown.

Mayor Steven Fulop and Public Safety Director James Shea swore in 32 new firefighters to the Jersey City Fire Department at a ceremony on Monday, March 2,  inside City Hall Council Chambers before their families and members of the Jersey city Council.

Since Fulop took office, a total of 246 new firefighters have been hired, increasing the ranks of the Jersey City Fire Department by more than 600. This latest class of firefighters to take the oath of office marks the department’s eleventh class since 2013.

“In less than seven years, we’ve grown the fire department from being dangerously understaffed to now historic levels with fully staffed firehouses every day and night to keep our community safe,” Fulop said. “This latest class graduating is joining the best, and one of the largest departments in the state, comprised of a diverse group of brave men and women.  I wish them luck as they embark on such a noble career.”

The additional firefighters have filled the department gaps inherited by Fulop in 2013 when an average of 22 companies were operating on any given night, and four firehouses were put temporarily off duty or “browned out” every shift due to inadequate staffing levels, ultimately putting the lives of Jersey City residents at risk.

Money well spent

Today all companies are on duty and fully staffed every day, 24 hours a day, providing response coverage citywide.

Fulop said public safety has always been his administration’s number-one priority as he congratulated the newest class.

He noted the city is densely populated with older housing stock, so investment in firefighters and their training is money well spent.

“Increasing public safety is an all-encompassing approach, and we’ve worked hard to build the best fire department in the state,” said Director Shea.  “These graduates have undergone the rigorous training necessary to be a part of this great department, and we will continue to expand public safety citywide, which includes another class of recruits entering the academy this spring.”

After five months of academy training, the new class is now the eleventh to complete an additional three-month EMT certification course partially funded through a federal SAFER grant, and is fully EMT-certified.

Jersey City’s newest firefighters are Michael Blakely, Hendrik Martinez, John Tomkowski, Adam Sadowski, William Acevedo, Lee Garrett, Jeffery Hunter, Ivan Prensa, Brian DeJesus, Joshua Rutter, Taylor Donnelly, Gavin Niland, Angelo Aligo, Patrick Boyle, Edward Sellmeyer, Dominic Conte, Andrew Cavaliere, Dylan Brown, Andrew Buterbaugh, David Kent, Nicholas Ferrari, Matthew Topolewski, Michael Rotondo, Brian Mills, Jordan Bowen, Jared Ramundo, Jake O’Callahan, Nicholas McGinley, Sean Pickett, Adam Cron, Jacob Czarnowski, and Devin Geoghegan.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.