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July 01, 2024 | NEW JERSEY Ron Jeffers, New Jersey Editor
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

At City Hall in Hackensack, the court chambers was standing room only to witness Anthony Riehl being sworn in as the city's new fire chief.  On duty, off duty and retired firefighters, along with family and friends attended the May 7thceremony. 

Chief Riehl, 47, is a 24-year veteran of the department and a city native.  He joined the fire department in 2000 after he took the civil service test for police officer and firefighter to serve his hometown.  

The chief scored higher on the police test, but the fire department called first.

“I went to fire and fell in love with the place,” he said.  “I thought this is what I was out here to do.”

Chief Riehl was promoted to lieutenant in 2012, and then to captain in 2019 and deputy chief in 2022. 

The chief is now in charge of the 106-member department that possesses an impressive national ISO Class 1 rating. 

Chief of Department Thomas Freeman retired after 40-years of service.  Deputy Chief John Niland, who was named acting chief, retired in April after 37-years of service. 

Chief Riehl's wife Heather and daughter Juliana both work as nurses, and his son Shane is a firefighter in South Carolina. 

The new chief's goals include acquiring new technology and life-saving equipment.  That includes updated SCBA and fire apparatus.

The chief added, “There's nothing better than helping people on their worst day.  And the brotherhood and the camaraderie-every firefighter will tell you, it's the greatest job in the world.” 

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Ron JeffersNew Jersey Editor

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