Police & Fire

Scotch Plains Swears in New Fire Department Leaders

Mayor Al Smith with Scotch Plains Fire Chief John Lestarchick and his wife, Allison, and their children Credits: John Mooney
Deputy Chief Skip Paal and his family Credits: John Mooney
A large crowd of family, friends and supporters attended the Scotch Plains Fire Department's swearing in ceremony at the Municipal Building on July 25. Credits: John Mooney
Mayor Al Smith swears in Scotch Plains Fire Chief John Lestarchick while his wife, Allison, holds the Bible. Credits: John Mooney

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Before a packed audience at last Tuesday's Scotch Plains Township meeting, Mayor Al Smith officially swore in John Lestarchick as the new fire chief. Lestarchick takes over the position from Jonathan Ellis, who retired at the end of June after three decades with the department.

Additionally, Rutland "Skip" Paal was sworn in as deputy chief, while Joe Rodrigues was announced as the battalion chief for the Northside fire house on Senger Place. Rodrigues is currently away on Marine Reserve duty serving in the Middle East.

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Upcoming Events


Fri, March 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Sat, March 24, 11:00 AM

Home For Good Dog Rescue, Berkeley Heights

Dog Adoption Event



Sun, March 25, 1:00 PM

Westfield Tennis Club, Westfield

Westfield Tennis Club Summer Youth Program Open ...