He may have grown up in neighboring Harrison, but Juan Barroso has become very familiar with Kearny streets and by-ways since he became a town firefighter in April 2007.
And his diligence in learning his job and applying that knowledge at fire scenes has earned him the recognition of his superiors as reflected in his appointment, last Tuesday, to the post of provisional Kearny Fire Official/Chief Inspector.
He replaces John Donovan, who retired from the Kearny Fire Department last June after having spent 24 years with the department.
Barroso has been assisting since Donovan’s departure.
Donovan was earning $136,600 a year but Barroso, with about nine years on the job, will await the municipal government’s adoption of a 2016 salary ordinance for the position to learn what his pay will be.
Barroso’s permanent appointment is conditional on the outcome of a state Civil Service test which, according to Fire Chief Steven Dyl, has yet to be scheduled by the state. He has completed the state certification requirements for the post, Dyl said.
After he graduated from Harrison High School in 2000, Barroso — whose dad is a retired NJ Transit police officer — joined the Army and ended up spending eight years with the Army Reserve.
In April 2006, Barroso was hired as a Hudson County Sheriff’s Officer and, about a year later, his application to the Kearny Fire Department was accepted.
As spelled out by the N.J. Civil Service Commission, a municipal fire official (UFD) enforces all applicable fire safety codes, conducts inspections, investigates all fires that involve “loss of life or injury or cause destruction or damage to property,” preserves any “physical evidence” related to the cause of a fire, orders the removal or remediation of any dangerous or hazardous conditions, combustible materials or pathway obstructions in structures or accumulations of dust, wastes or grease in air-conditioning, exhaust ducts or mechanical equipment in kitchens, serves violation notices and assesses penalties for violations, reviews fire code permit applications, inspects hydrants and “may’’ conduct public fire safety education programs, among other things.
Meanwhile, in other KFD-related developments, the mayor and Town Council last Tuesday authorized three applications to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The town is seeking:
- $1 million to acquire an aerial foam delivery ladder truck to be used, in particular, to control “flammable liquid and/or chemical fires to protect our port area,” Dyl said. It would replace a 26-year-old ladder truck. If the town gets the grant, it would require a 25% local match.
- $25,000 (no local match required) for fire boat “maintenance and sustainability,” providing funding for “fuel, motors and minor repairs,” said Dyl.
- $25,000 (no local match required) for “swift water rescue training and equipment” intended to give firefighters practice in aiding people and/or vehicles trapped in flooded waters. Firefighters would undergo training by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission in Scudders Falls in Mercer County where the local waters are shallower and cleaner than the Passaic River, Dyl said.
The governing body also authorized contracting with Micro Strategies Inc. of Parsippany to replace the KFD’s dispatch recording system, which, Dyl said, dates from 2007 and is “no longer supported,” at a cost of $16,614.
And it voted to contract with Pascack Data Services Inc. of Hawthorne to “replace 80% of the computers” within the KFD that, according to Dyl, are outdated, for $67,877.
Both electronic projects are to be financed with funds unexpended from a 2014 bond ordinance.