Kearny hires 8 new firefighters


Kearny has hired eight new firefighters.

All positions are being financed for a two-year period through the federal SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response) grant program.

Fire Chief Steven Dyl said the new appointees will begin training at the Morris County Fire Academy on Feb. 8 and, upon completion of that program along with EMT certification, should be ready to hit the streets by the first week of June.

Their Academy pay is $33,000.

The hirings, which were approved by the mayor and Town Council last Tuesday, will bring the Fire Department’s strength up to 92 – still short of the 102 called for by the Table of Organization for the department, Dyl said.

And that number will drop by one when a fire captain is expected to retire Feb. 1, he said.

“We’re still owed another four firefighters under SAFER,” Dyl said, “but we ran out of people on the [state Civil Service certified hiring] list. We hope to have a new list by March so we’ll begin working toward additional hires by then.”
The new recruits are: Jonathan Gonzalez, Paul DeCaldas, John Albizu, Pablo Astorga, William Lyman, Jessica Zelaya, Manny Pagan and Stephen Levchak.

Gonzalez, 25, a graduate of St. Mary’s High School, Rutherford, worked previously for the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service. Originally from Newark, he has relocated to Kearny.

DeCaldas, 30, previously worked for Big Nick’s as a cook and driver. A Newark resident, he is an alumnus of Science High School, Newark.

Albizu, 29, is a Kearny resident who has been working for the Kearny DPW. A Kearny High School graduate, he studied at Universal Technical Institute.

Astorga, 39, is a Newark resident who graduated from Passaic Valley High School. He has worked as a field coordinator for ESP (Engineering Solutions & Products), a Department of Defense contractor, based in Virginia.

Lyman, 25, is a Kearny resident and Kearny High School alumnus and the grandson of a Kearny firefighter. He worked as a shipping manager for Apex Saw & Tool Co.

Zelaya, 26, a Kearny resident and Kearny High School alumna, has undergraduate degrees in criminal justice and nursing from Rutgers University, Newark, and has worked as a nurse at Beth Israel Hospital, Newark. She becomes only the second woman firefighter with the KPD.

Pagan, 24, is a Newark resident who graduated from Bloomfield Technical High School. He worked as a security officer for Allied Barton Security Services.

Levchak, 26, is the son of a retired Kearny Police Department lieutenant and is the brother of a current KPD officer. A Kearny High School graduate, he has a liberal arts degree from Bergen County College and has worked as a parking supervisor for Impark (Imperial Parking Corp.).


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