Like father, like son: 30-year N.J. volunteer heads Fire Dept.


By Jennifer H. Cunningham
Herald News (Passaic County, NJ)
Copyright 2007 North Jersey Media Group Inc.,
All Rights Reserved  
 

WEST PATERSON, N.J.  — The borough's newly elected fire chief ? carrying on a family tradition of public service — is filling the role that his father once had.

"I've been involved in the department since I was a little boy," said Paul Salomone Jr., 48, who officially began his three-year-term on Monday. Becoming chief "was something I always wanted to do," he added.

Salomone's father, Paul Sr., served as fire chief from 1972 to 1975 — around the time Salomone became a firefighter.

The former assistant chief has volunteered with the Fire Department for more than 30 years, and said he plans to aggressively identify new money sources for the department, while also improving recruitment strategies and training policies.

"We want to condense the trainings and get in as much as we can, but with less time," Salomone said.

Fire Chief Joe Macones, 59, finished his term on Monday after the Fire Department's 75 firefighters elected Salomone to the three-year position at their annual meeting on Dec. 11. Andy Roehrich was elected as assistant fire chief.

Macones said although he was stepping down as chief, he would remain within the department and may even become an assistant chief again.

"I'm not retiring from the department, I'm retiring from being chief," Macones said. "I don't have any plans for slowing down, that's for sure."

Like Salomone, volunteering with the Fire Department is a family tradition for Macones. Several of his uncles also served as borough firefighters, and now, his two sons, Joseph and Jason, have become firefighters.

Another long-serving Passaic Valley fire chief, who answered the borough's calls for mutual assistance, retired last month.

Little Falls' Fire Chief Edmund Pomponio, 63, stepped down after 46 years working with the volunteer department.

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