Chief-elect TD Doremus, facing camera, with his father, Tom, center, and Chief Josh Sanders at the fire department election party. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)


There’s a new fire chief-elect in Red Bank, and though he’s heading into his first term at the helm of the all-volunteer squad, it’s certainly not a new title in his family.

A fifth-generation firefighter and third-generation chief, 29-year-old Thomas Doremus, known as “TD,” will begin his one-year command with the traditional New Year’s Day swearing-in at borough hall, succeeding current chief Josh Sanders.

At a combination election and party held last Tuesday night at the Independent Engine Company house on Mechanic Street, Pete DeFazio, a member of the ‘92 Engine Company and retired Red Bank police captain, explained the election process.

“Though it is technically an election, we pretty much know that TD is going to be elected,” he said before a vote was held. “We have a rotation in place, where each chief serves for a year, then his first deputy chief takes over as the second deputy chief moves into his slot. Then the process repeats itself.”

DeFazio said that each of the six fire stations in town had a scheduled spot in this rotation, and that there was hardly ever any controversy over results of the elections.

“We are really just one big family,” he said. “We’re all firefighters.”

Doremus, who is also a Red Bank police officer, is filling a position previously held by his father and grandfather.

“I’m definitely proud of my son,” Tommy Doremus, ex-chief and father of TD told redbankgreen. “He comes from a long line of firefighters and fire chiefs, and he really deserves and earned the position.”

He added that his youngest son, Taylor, had also recently joined up, and said it was an honor to fight in the trenches with his sons, continuing a family tradition that has lasted generations.

The crowd at the firehouse grew throughout the night, in anticipation of Doremus’ arrival, which was met with much celebration.

“This is always a big event, not just for Red Bank firemen, but for firemen from all the surrounding towns,” fire police member Carl Colmorgen said. “It really is a big party, as you can see.”

At the changing of the guard on January 1, deputy borough fire marshal and Office of Emergency Management director Tommy Welsh will become first deputy chief, and Joseph Lauterwasser will become second deputy.