North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue (NHRFR) made history on Tuesday, Feb. 13 by swearing in 37 new firefighters, its largest hiring class ever, and including Lisa Napier, the first female firefighter in the 20-year history of NHRFR. All 37 new firefighters are U.S. military veterans, showing the regional fire department’s unwavering commitment to supporting our nation’s veterans.
"I would like to thank Senator [Robert] Menendez, Senator [Cory] Booker, and Congressman [Albio] Sires for helping secure a Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) federal grant, which will fully pay the salaries of 35 of these new firefighters,” said Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner. “Federal funding this year also enabled the purchase of state-of-the-art cameras, which detect body heat and can save precious time when fire crews are in dangerous situations."
The new NHRFR firefighters are Rembert A. Amistad, Stephen Arxer, Alexis Barreto, Paul B. Brown, Matthew M. Buchman, Alex C. Burkhardt, Michael A. Carvajal, Kevin P. Greenfield, Joshua M. Grochowski, Ronnie J. Guerra, Ryan M. Haas, Mitchell L. Hoffman, Philip T. Hoffman Jr., Patrick J. Klebaur, Arthur J. Knutsen, Andres F. Lopez, Ryan A. Malanot, Johandy Martinez, Mark S. Moran, Patrick L. Morris, Jeffrey T. Mullins, Lisa A. Napier, Shane M. Paczkowski, Julio C. Pinedo, Kevin L. Riker, Fernando Rodriguez, Mauricio B. Rojas, Xavier A. Romo, Kyle L. Rowand, Thomas H. Ruane, David C. Sigwart, Jose J. Solano, Kenneth E. Stewart, Marc R. Vero, Michael A. Viggiano, Richard J. Villane, and David L. Washington.
Three firefighters were promoted to the rank of captain: Joseph B. Gobin, Peter Mancini, and Timothy P. Richards. Nicholas A. Prato was promoted to the rank of battalion chief.
NHRFR is a nationally recognized fire protection unit, and one of the largest regionalized fire departments in the United States. Covering the North Hudson towns of Guttenberg, North Bergen, Union City, Weehawken, and West New York, NHRFR takes pride in maintaining one of the best response times in the nation.
Present at the ceremony were Chief Montagne, NHRFR Executive Directors Michael DeOrio and Jeffrey Welz, Deputy Chief Anthony Venezia, Battalion Chief Alider Pratts, and NHRFR Board Members John Habermann, Martin Martinelli, and North Bergen Township Administrator Christopher Pianese.