Names In The News


MICHAEL GARCIA was named chief of the Laguna Beach (CA) Fire Department. Garcia brings more than 32 years of fire experience to the position, which includes 28 years with the Long Beach (CA) Fire Department (LBFD). He has 20 years of supervisory and management experience, with more than eight years as a member of the LBFD’s command staff, holding positions of assistant chief, deputy chief; and, for a period, acting chief. Garcia’s background includes expertise in the areas of fire operations, administration, fire prevention, emergency preparedness, staff training, and community relations.


MARK DUFFEK was sworn in as the new chief of the Brookfield (IL) Fire Department, where he has worked for the past three decades. Duffek replaces Chief Patrick Lenzi, who served in the role since October 2005; Lenzi announced his retirement in March. Duffek is a lifelong Brookfield resident who had been planning to retire as a firefighter in November 2018 but changed his mind when Lenzi announced he was leaving to pursue other opportunities. He indicated that he will commit five years to the chief’s position..


BOB SMITH, chief of the Barnesville (OH) Fire Department (BFD), retired after a 50-year fire service career with the BFD. Smith had been Barnesville’s fire chief for the past 20 years. He noted that SCBA were among the most important changes in firefighter safety during his tenure, when firefighters would have to break a window and step outside the structure frequently to breathe. Over the course of his career, Smith responded to six drownings, four fatal fires, and had gone on thousands of calls. Smith’s son is a former assistant fire chief, and his grandson, Ricky, is the chief of the Bellaire (OH) Fire Department.


STEVE HEIN retired as the chief of the Truro Township (OH) Fire Department (TTFD) after a 43-year fire service career. Under his supervision, TTFD Station 161 was demolished, and the replacement is now under construction. Hein also pushed the department to focus on safety. The biggest change during his career, he said, was with the number of calls to which the department responds in a day. In the 1970s, the number was two to three calls per day. Now, it’s more than 20 times a day. Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Sharps will replace Hein.


KEITH KIESOW retired as the chief of the Village of Fox Crossing (WI) Fire Department (FCFD) after nearly 38 years with department. Kiesow started as a paid on-call firefighter in 1980 and was hired as the full-time chief in 2000. He worked to add services to the FCFD such as ice-water rescue and tactical emergency medical services. Brian Harbison was named as Kiesow’s replacement after a four-month search. Harbison was an active-duty firefighter in the U.S. Navy for four years, spent 15 years as a Navy reservist, and has 23 years of firefighting experience with the Belvidere (IL) Fire Department.


JOE PFEIFER retired in July as an assistant chief with the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) after a 37-year fire service career. Pfeifer was notable as the first chief to arrive at the World Trade Center (WTC) on 9/11, setting up a command post in the north tower lobby. He was accompanied to the WTC by French filmmaker Jules Naudet who, along with Naudet’s brother Gédéon, was filming a documentary about firefighting. The subsequent footage captured at the WTC towers showed the world the valor of emergency responders on 9/11. Pfeifer will be the last of the 9/11 chiefs to leave the FDNY. His brother Kevin, an FDNY lieutenant, was one of the 343 responding members who died that day.


LOUIS VENEZIA was sworn in as the new chief of the Bloomfield (NJ) Fire Department (BFD). He replaces former chief Joseph McCarthy, who retired. Venezia has been with the BFD for 19 years, joining the department in 1999. He was promoted to Captain in 2009 and Deputy Chief in 2014. He received several certifications in recent years including NJ Division of Fire and Safety Fire Officer Level 2, Instructor Level 2, IMS Level 3, and Stockton College Executive Leadership for Fire Service Officers, among many others. Venezia is the brother of Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia.

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