West Orange Fire Department Receives $1.7M Grant

The federal funding will allow the WOFD to hire an estimated 10 firefighters in the coming months.


The West Orange Fire Department will be bolstering its ranks in the coming months with the help of a $1.7 million federal grant awarded this week.  

New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) announced Wednesday that the WOFD is one of two fire departments receiving federal funding to hire firefighters through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program. 

“I’m extremely excited to receive a grant of this nature,” said WOFD Chief Peter Smeraldo on Thursday. “It reflects the hard work of the members of the department ... and the job they do.”

The funding awaits approval by the township council at its next meeting on Sept. 11. After that, Smeraldo said the money will immediately be used to hire an estimated 10 firefighters.  

The grant, said Smeraldo, “recognizes that we need some assistance, and they understand that we have budgetary challenges -- just like a lot of other places.

Since hitting a 20-year high of 93 firefighters in 2006, the department is now staffed at 78 firefighters, according to township documents. The fire department renegotiated its contract , so most losses were primarily due to attrition, said Smeraldo. 

However, the firefighters will not start right away. The new hires will need to complete training at the Essex County Fire Academy in Cedar Grove. The training will take about four months. 

The new firefighters are expected to be sworn in soon after the new year. 

The only other agency to receive funding from the same grant was Hoboken Fire Department. It was awarded $1.1 million. 

Gary Englert August 28, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Jake Freivald: Just what other "people would want to know" about my voter registration status? If it's you and the Mrs., you got the information previously and may convey it, or not, as you see fit. This is an even more ridiculous line of questioning than those concerning Barack Obama's place of birth and neither am I as public a person has he, nor am I running for office. It's surely far more germane that someone vying for local office hadn't voted in a municipal election for 14 of the 16 years he'd lived here...the explanation being he didn't know enough to make an informed decision...then concluding that a year or two of paying some attention qualified him to govern. Go figure.
Jake Freivald August 28, 2012 at 09:08 PM
I know you want to throw mud, Gary, and you're quite good at your job: sucking all the life out of every discussion you engage in. The fact remains that you have voted using a legal address where you had never lived, and, as of last year, that had been sold by the people who ostensibly allowed you to use it. No big deal, I know. Trust you. Everything's fine.
Gary Englert August 28, 2012 at 11:02 PM
I'm throwing mud? Et tu Brute? Actually, what I was doing was providing salient and accurate information, germane to this discussion, when your better half chose to question not only my acumen but, my right to voice an opinion. You previously questioned my voter registration and I answered the inquiry honestly and forthrightly; yet you persist and toward what end? Reminding you of your shoddy voting record is then more than fair game, so please spare us all the righteous indignation. Assume for just a moment that I currently reside on the moon or the International space Station; would that make my long and detailed knowledge of the Township, its government and how it operates any less? Nope...and, by comparison, yours and the Mrs. couldn't fill a thimble.
Gary Englert August 28, 2012 at 11:07 PM
By the way folks, up on the right side wall of the equipment bay, down at Fire Headquarters, is a running list of all the past and present members of the WOFD. Included therein are their names, ranks, their date in service and the date they retired. Those without a retirement date are those still serving and determining when they be eligible to retire is simply a matter of adding 25 years to the month, day and year they joined the department.
Mike D'Onofrio August 29, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Can we please keep the conversation under control. I will have to start shutting down comment boards if this persists. -- MCD


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »