Retired Red Bank police captain Pete DeFazio, at right above, is slated to serve as chief of the borough’s volunteer fire department for 2017, following his election by members Tuesday night.
His swearing-in, scheduled for January 1, will begin DeFazio’s third tour as chief, a post he held in 1987 and 1993. A member of the Relief Engine Company on Drummond Place, DeFazio retired from the police department in 2010, after 35 years on the force. He’ll succeed Chris Soden, of the Union Hose Company, in a tradition that rotates the top job among the borough’s six fire companies.
Chris Soden gives his oath as Red Bank fire chief at the Union Hose Company. Behind Soden are deputies Pete DeFazio, left, and Stu Jensen, partly obscured. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Chris Soden’s term as Red Bank’s new fire chief got off to a smoky start Friday.
Eight hours before he was sworn into office, Soden and other volunteer firefighters worked their way up six flights of stairs to save a 79-year-old man who’d set his mattress ablaze when he fell asleep with a lit cigarette.
Chief-elect Joe Lauterwasser, right arrives at the First Aid building Tuesday night with his prospective first deputy, Chris Soden, left, and second deputy Pete DeFazio, center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
That was evident on Tuesday night, when the 143-year-old department’s annual election night celebration was dominated by names and faces that would have been familiar to attendees generations ago.
“We’re based on tradition,” said ex-chief George Lauterwasser (2002) as he awaited the arrival of the chief-elect, his 30-year-old son, Joe, at the First Aid building on Spring Street with dozens of other volunteers. “We keep it up with the kids. We’re old school.”