PATERSON, NJ - While the recent passing of Paterson Fire Department Deputy Chief Joseph Murray, caused, speakers noted, a noticeable absence at Friday’s promotional ceremony, his more than 20 years on the job left a “legacy of positivity” for those moving up in the ranks that set the tone for the otherwise joyous gathering.

Hundreds of proud family members looked on as their loved ones received much deserved praise from speaker after speaker, starting with Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott. Regaling the audience with incredible stories of heroism, including the recent rescue of a two-year-old girl from a backyard pool and the lifesaving response to a man pinned under a train, the 24-year veteran of the Department said that the men and women that he oversees keep him in awe, “inspired to keep pushing forward.”

The leadership each will have to exercise in their new ranks has long existed in each of them, he said, now, however, they will be “held to an even higher standard.”

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It will be up to them, McDermott continued, to “drive the department even further,” each making an impact “greater than we will ever know.”

Congressman Bill Pascrell, for whom the Paterson Fire Headquarters was recently named after, led a series of local officials, including Mayor Andre Sayegh and Council President Martiza Davila, who would also take to the podium to congratulate and thank the 26 being promoted for their efforts to keep Paterson safe.

“Each of you is truly dedicated to the welfare of the citizens of our city,” Paterson Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale said.

Among the 13 men to be promoted from the rank of Firefighter to Captain was Carlos E. Pagan. A second generation firefighter Pagan, on the job for eight years, said that moving up the ranks in such a storied fire department gives him “big shoes to fill.” 

“It is up to us to prepare the next generation of leaders,” Pagan said. “To teach them and show them the Paterson Fire Department way.” 

Asked what he thought it was that makes firefighting a multi-generational profession, Pagan, with his father, also Carlos, at his side, said simply, “this job is all about family.” The elder Pagan retired earlier this year after more than 25 years with the Paterson Fire Department

Also speaking to TAPinto Paterson following the ceremony was newly sworn in Battalion Chief Michael Trommelen, a firefighter known among his colleagues for regularly being out front when it comes to community service efforts. While grateful for the praise they were showered with Trommelen, asked if that is something he and his colleagues seek, shared his belief that “there is no one on the Paterson Fire Department that does this job for any other reason than to make a positive impact.”

When told of Trommelen’s comments, Kyle Hughes, President of FMBA Local 2, the union that represents Paterson’s rank-and-file firefighters, reflected also on the earlier words of Deacon Anthony Fierro who praised the firefighters for their "charity as well as their bravery."

“While our orders come from the top our service comes from our hearts,” Hughes said. “There is not a man or woman on the Paterson Fire Department that isn’t committed to making our city not just a safer, but also a stronger, place to live.”


Promoted to Deputy Chief

Luis A. Cruz

John Bradle

Matthew S. Hyman

Robert C. Gardner

Gabriel Aboyoun


Promoted to Battalion Chief

Joseph T. Henderson

Jose D. Molina

Michael Trommelen

Michael P. Cleenput

John Botero

Dante M. DeStefano

Jackson G. Brock

Kenneth R. Kiefer


Promoted to Captain

Ryan S. Higgins

Michael J. Hascup

Leonardo Acosta

Tyshawn D. Hawkins

Thomas R. Gander

Anthony B. Selby

John W. Howe Jr.

Robert J. Tierney

Kyle E. Hoffman

Winfried Roman

Carlos E. Pagan

Raphael G Paredes

Herbert H. Eggers III