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Mahwah Swears In New Fire Chief

New Years Day ceremony recognized new leadership in the township's fire department

2013 marks a change in leadership in the Mahwah Fire Department. Lifetime Mahwah resident and veteran township firefighter Ed Garza, who has served as the first assistant fire chief of the department for the past two years, was sworn in as the new fire chief at a New Year’s Day ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

Because of a township rule stating that fire chiefs may only serve two one-year terms in the position, immediate past chief Brian Potter – who served in the role in 2011 and 2012 – stepped down. A crowd of firefighters, family, friends and township officials welcomed Garza to the role Tuesday.

“I am happy to finally be here,” Garza said after officially being sworn in. “It’s been a long time.

Garza has been a member of the FD since 1981, and has served in various leadership roles throughout his time in the department, including HazMat coordinator, Co. 2 battalion chief and department assistant chief. All of the positions, he said, helped prepare him for his new gig.

“It was good training for what I’ll be doing as chief,” he said. “Going from assistant chief to chief is a good transition.”

Two new assistant chiefs – Tom Loreto and Ray Virgens, who both served as battalion chiefs last year – were also sworn in Tuesday.

“I am proud to be an officer in this company,” Virgens said.

Moving from his previous office to this one, “means working with the entire town,” Loreto added. “It’ll offer some new challenges that I’m really excited for.”

Garza said he plans to use 2013 to “keep the department progressing. Many people don’t realize we’re a volunteer organization because we operate at such a professional level all the time. We’re always looking for ways to stay current, and I want to make sure we keep doing that this year.”

Past MFD chiefs and chiefs from neighboring fire departments attended the swearing-in ceremony, as well as town council members and the mayor, who swore in all of the department’s new officers. Mayor Bill Laforet thanked members for their dedication to the township, and called the ceremony a “celebration of all that you do for the community.”

Firefighters were sworn in to leadership roles in all five Mahwah fire companies, and the township's ambulance corps:

Battalion Chiefs

Company 1: Mike Cooper

Company 2: Robert Conly

Company 3: Cord Meyer

Company 4: Chris Konash

Company 5: Harold Wilson


Company 1: Mike Walsh

Company 2: Ken Warnet

Company 3: Matt Sorochynskyj

Company 4: Vic Bartoloma

Company 5: William Mann


Company 1: Chris Rupert, Guy Capello

Company 2: Robert Himber, Michael Roe

Company 3: Stephan Sorochynskyj, Frank Parker

Company 4: Rich Cronenberg, Matt Buonocore

Company 5: James Fox, Ryan Mann


Rescue Captain: Ed Drejman

Rescue Lieutenant: Eric Moritz


Senior HazMat Coordinator: Ken Warnet

Coordinators: Mike Roe, Gordon McIntire, Chris Vandling

Fire Police

Captain: Larry Wright

Lieutenant: Tor Lunde

Co. 4 Ambulance

Captain: Chuck Jandris

Assistant Captain: Victoria Pope

Lieutenants: Charlie Croker, Karl Miller

Department elections are held in November every year. Because of a scheduling conflict, Co. 1 Ambulance Corps was not able to hold its elections in November, and will have a separate swearing-in of its new officers later this month.

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Kenneth F Werring January 02, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Congratulations and best wishes to all the new and returning officers of the outstanding Mahwah Fire Department. It is our sincere wish that you be safe in your responsibilities. Ken & Mary Werring
Debby Nelson January 02, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Congratulations to all the Fire Chiefs, Fire Officers and Company #4 Ambulance Officers. Best wishes for a safe and quiet year!
Regenbogen January 02, 2013 at 10:48 PM
Congratulations and many thanks to Brian Potter for his dedicated service.
Debra Venedam January 03, 2013 at 03:12 AM
Congrats to Brian Potter on his service!


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