MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Michael Weber was officially sworn in as Chief of Maplewood Fire Department yesterday, November 6, at the Maplewood Township Committee meeting, along with the officiation of the promotions of four other firefighters.

In speaking to the large crowd gathered — filled with friends, family, and firefighters from in and out town — he thanked his father, Jay Weber, “a 54-year resident of South Orange who also served on the South Orange First Aid Squad for 17 years. When it comes to courage and dealing with adversity, he set an example I can only hope to achieve.” 

He stated his pride in his avocation. “My professional career I often describe as the greatest job in the world. I can’t imagine doing anything else,” he noted. Weber called his fellow firefighters his “second family” and said that although there is anxiety among the men facing “uncertain times,” referring to the potential merger with the South Orange Fire Department, “Our department is made of exceptional men, and I know together we can handle whatever future we face.” He promised the community he will do the most professional job he can “while making sure each man goes home safely at the end of each shift.”

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Captain Christopher Ariemma was appointed Deputy Chief. During remarks after being sworn in, he acknowledged his family, saying, “You all live the fire department life with me, and I know it is not easy.”

MORE: Meet Chief Weber or Say Goodbye to Chief Dingelstedt

Firefighter Matthew Whitting was appointed Captain. He thanked the men he works with, saying “I’ve learned something from each and every one of you.” Also being promoted to Captain was Firefighter Joseph Giorgio. He thanked the township committee for their support and his family for their love.

Alejandro Colatruglio was the final promotion of the evening, also to Captain. A 14-year veteran of the department, he thanked his platoon and Captain Alvarez, and his emotion was palpable as he thanked his wife, Angela. “You put your own career on hold to allow me to study for the captain’s exam, and to go back to school. You’re my strength when things are tough,” he said.