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Gloucester City Fire Department Thrilled Over Rehiring Three Men

By Albert Countryman Jr.


(Gloucester City News June 7)Gloucester City Fire Chief Brian Hagan proudly announced the re- 1280_0003072hiring of three firefighters that had been laid off on December 23, 2010, during a press conference May 30 at Fire Headquarters.

“The guys are happy to come back. This is great for the morale of the Fire Department,” said Chief Hagan, adding that now six of the eight laid-off firefighters are now back in the fold.

“We hired three back through attrition, and now three more have been hired back today,” he said. “I would like to thank Gloucester City Mayor and Council for their help.”

The chief praised the grant writing efforts of Battalion Chief George Huston, Fire Marshall Patrick Hagan, and Fire Department Secretary Alicia Jones, who were able to secure at $590,038 grant from the federal government.

“The grant guarantees staffing of 25 full-time firefighters over the next two years,” Chief Hagan said.

“This makes the citizens in town a lot safer.  Four guys will always be on an apparatus,” said Fire Marshall Hagan, including the driver, the officer in seat two, the hydrant guy in seat three, and the nozzle guy in seat four.

Huston and Patrick Hagan both said that Gloucester City is the 14th department nationwide to receive this grant, and the first in New Jersey.

The department will re-apply for the grant in the future, as it lasts for two years and comes form the federal Staffing For Adequate Fire And Emergency Response program.

Chief Hagan said the firefighters will only need about two weeks of training to get them back up to speed, and then they will go right into service.

One of the re-hired firefighters, Kurt Dillon, was at the press conference at Fire Headquarters on King Street.

“It has been an emotional roller coaster,” Dillon said. “I had worked here for six years, and am a family man. Getting laid off was a tremendous shock. I love this job, and am glad to be a permanent employee again.”

 When the firefighters had been laid off in 2010, Gloucester City hired Lourdes to take the ambulance calls from residents – something the Fire Department had done for more than 100 years.

Chief Hagan said at first the situation was a bit unusual, since the firefighters are all trained EMTs. However, over the past 18 months, the firefighters and the Lourdes EMTs work together at accident scenes.

When the layoffs first happened, the Fire Department morale was rocked, Chief Hagan said.

“It’s been difficult,” he said. “We’re getting back on our feet, and this grant is a great help,” the chief concluded.