Newark, NJ – December 21, 2011 – Mayor Cory A. Booker, Newark Municipal Council Members, Fire Director Fateen A. Ziyad, and Fire Chief John G. Centanni promoted four new Battalion Chiefs, 13 Fire Captains, and swore in 25 new firefighters from the 40th Recruit Class to their duties at a City Hall Municipal Council Chamber ceremony on Tuesday, December 20. Deputy City Clerk Ken Louis administered the oath of office to the promotees and recruits.
Holding the Bible at left is George LaTorre, son of Newark Fire Captain Dominick LaTorre. The recruit class dedicated their training to Capt. LaTorre, who was killed in the line of duty on May 7, 1972, in a collapse during a three-alarm fire in a vacant three-story brick building. Two other firefighters were killed in the incident.
“You are a Newark Firefighter. That means something,” said Mayor Booker, addressing the new Firefighters. “You represent a tradition that goes back to previous centuries, of men who ran into fires and saved lives. You protect and secure the City of Newark. You stand for the highest values, and exemplify them in action. Your lives are about purpose. I celebrate your ascendancy into the community of courage and give you my thanks.”
Three firefighters from Millburn and one from Maplewood also graduated from the Department’s Fire Academy, the first class to go through the Newark academy in 10 years. For a decade, Newark fire recruits have attended other fire academies in Essex, Bergen, and Morris counties. The names of the new chiefs, captains, and firefighters are on an attached list. The Newark Fire Department Pipe and Drum Band performed during the ceremony.
|Firefighter Wilson Vazquez (left) receives his Fire Director’s Award for the highest academic standing in the recruit class from Fire Director Ziyad. “Today is a wonderful day for the Newark Fire Department and Newark’s citizens,” said Director Ziyad. “We will have the ability to provide residents with more firefighters and better service. I want to thank the Mayor, the Council, our Business Administrator, and Senator Lautenberg for their tireless efforts to maintain a high quality of safety in this great City called Newark.” Standing at right is Fire Battalion Chief Raul Malave, who served as event Master of Ceremonies.|
“It is an honor and a privilege to welcome our new firefighters,” said Municipal Council President Donald M. Payne, Jr., speaking for his colleagues. “The human character and instinct is to run away from fire – yours is to run toward it. To help others, you go in harm’s way. I respect what you have chosen as a vocation and admire your brains and dedication to the community, and thank you on behalf of a grateful municipality for what you do.” Also in attendance were Council Members-at-Large Mildred Crump and Carlos M. Gonzalez, and East Ward Council Member Augusto Amador.
“Today is a wonderful day for the Newark Fire Department and Newark’s citizens,” said Director Ziyad. “We will have the ability to provide residents with more firefighters and better service. I want to thank the Mayor, the Council, our Business Administrator, and Senator Lautenberg for their tireless efforts to maintain a high quality of safety in this great City called Newark.” Director Ziyad noted that the money for the recruit class came from a $7.5 million federal grant to hire 75 more firefighters, awarded earlier this year. The funding will enable the Department to run two additional classes of recruits through the academy, one in February and one in May.
|Mayor Booker addresses attendees. “You are a Newark Firefighter. That means something,” said Mayor Booker, addressing the new Firefighters. “You represent a tradition that goes back to previous centuries, of men who ran into fires and saved lives. You protect and secure the City of Newark. You stand for the highest values, and exemplify them in action. Your lives are about purpose. I celebrate your ascendancy into the community of courage and give you my thanks.”|
“This is a very good moment for the Newark Fire Department,” said Chief Centanni. “It’s great to have new blood, new energy, new ideas in our department. It’s also a good moment to recognize officers who have been promoted for the hard work they’ve been doing.”
Millburn Fire Chief Michael Robertson spoke on behalf of his township, thanking the Newark Fire Department for training the three Millburn recruits. “This is a humble honor for us to be part of this class. Our firefighters got the best training any facility in the state could provide. The City of Newark has our gratitude.”
Awards were given out to the top Newark recruits and to the recruits from Maplewood and Millburn for their achievements. The recruits also presented a plaque to their instructors, which will be displayed on the academy wall. A list of award recipients is given below.
“I feel like a million bucks,” said an elated Firefighter Hector Folch, after taking his oath. “This is one of the best feelings of my life. The training was phenomenal. The best part was the partnership we created as a team. The mayor’s speech was very motivating.”
Keton Dooley, another new Firefighter, was also excited by the training. “The best part was working as a team on the 110-foot ladder and going through simulated fires,” he said. “The experience was great. I learned to be aggressive in putting out fires and that preserving life is the number one priority. We became more cohesive as the training went on.”
Since 2006, the Newark Fire Department has opened new and renovated fire stations, and added new vehicles to its inventory. In 2008, the Department graduated the 39th Recruit Class of 18 recruits from the Fire Academy. In October 2009, the Newark Fire Department unveiled its new 41-foot-long Hazmat and Heavy Rescue truck which will provide firefighters with a wide array of state-of-the-art equipment, including a 9,000-pound winch, a 9,000-watt light tower, a Robotic Search Camera to investigate disasters areas difficult to access, and extrication tools for car crashes.
Over the past four years the Fire Department has also purchased three new fire engines; two ladder trucks, and several support and utility units, reducing the average age of its vehicles to close to 50 percent. The Department also saw a restructuring that led to a 67 percent reduction in overtime, as well as the creation of the region’s first Urban Search and Rescue Unit, as well as the employment of new technology, such as voice-amplified face pieces, a new CASCADE rehabilitation and tank filling apparatus, and a state-of-the-art Voice Alert System.
The Newark Fire Department also has a number of specialized units, including an Arson Unit, a Hazardous Materials Unit, a Fireboat, a Confined Space Rescue Team, a Foam Tanker, and a Cascade Unit, which responds to emergency scenes to fill air bottles. In addition, the Department is one of only nine in the State of New Jersey whose Metro Strike Team has a Collapse Unit, to deal with collapsed buildings. Most of the Department’s specialized units are assigned for regional response, to assist neighboring communities that lack such equipment and training.
LIST OF FIRE PROMOTEES
Battalion Fire Chief
Marlon Adams (Millburn)
Sean Slavin (Millburn)
Augustin Muresan (Millburn)
James Richardella (Maplewood)
RECRUIT AWARD RECIPIENTS
(Excellence in Academics)
(Excellence in Operations Training)
Fire Academy Special Operations Award
(Excellence in Leadership)
Achievement in Training Award