Hoboken Fire Department to promote first ever female battalion chief, new fire captain


The Hoboken Fire Department will promote their first ever female battalion chief, along with a new fire captain, at a private ceremony this afternoon.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Audra Carter is an 18-year veteran of the HFD, having served as a firefighter for 10 years, and most recently as a fire captain since 2011.

Throughout her career, she established an expertise in modern fire suppression and fire prevention principles, marine rescue, emergency preparedness and emergency medical services, the mayor’s office announced this morning.

“Congratulations to Battalion Chief Carter for her historical promotion. This serves as a testament to the positive progression of the department to serve their community in an inclusive manner,” Women in Fire President Amy Hanifan said in a statement.

“These earned opportunities always make me so proud of the individual that earned the role, there is a great amount of preparation and effort that goes into the process. Best of luck Chief Carter!”

As a fire captain, Carter was responsible for leading and participating in emergency responses, including fires, rescues, accidents, medical situations, and other hazardous conditions.

She was also responsible for ensuring calls for service were responded to in a safe and timely manner.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla will also promote Joshua Piñeiro, a 13-year veteran of the HPD, from firefighter to fire captain.

As a firefighter, Piñeiro served as a fire instructor, special rope rescue technician, became a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators, and was previously honored as the Puerto Rican Firefighter of the Year, among several other recognitions.

The promotions follow the recent retirement of Battalion Chief William Rozmester, who served on the department for 26 years.

The official promotion ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. today at City Hall and is by invitation only due to social distancing regulations.

“I can think of no better person to serve as a trailblazer in the Hoboken Fire Department as the first ever female battalion chief and send my congratulations to Audra and her colleagues on this historic day,” Bhalla said in a statement.

“I also extend my sincere congratulations to Fire Captain Piñeiro on the well-deserved promotion to Fire Captain and thank Battalion Chief Rozmester for his 26 years of public service to our residents.”

“Congratulations to our newly promoted fire officers: Battalion Chief Carter will be assigned as Training Officer and Captain Pineiro will be Health and Safety Officer,” added Hoboken Fire Chief Brian Crimmins, who also wished Rozmester will in his retirement.

“This is a historic and proud moment for the City and its residents because it elevates a woman to the highest ranks of the Fire Department,” stated Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour.

However, another councilwoman, 2nd Ward representative Tiffanie Fisher, said the decision “comes with noise” based on the results of the battalion chief test after offering praise to Carter.

“A huge congratulations to our new history making Battalion Chief Audra Carter (who happens to share her unusual name with my sister)!,” she began.

“This decision by the mayor of course comes with noise – passing over the highest ranked candidate seemingly because of his support of non-Team Bhalla candidates.”

According to the New Jersey Civil Service Commission, Joseph Grossi ranked number 1, Joseph Piccininni ranked number 2, and Carter ranked number 3 – though their scores were separated by less than a full point each (88750, 88010, and 87690).

Hoboken has historically allowed their mayors to make the call on who gets promoted in situations such as this one.


Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.

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  1. John Heinis, I was wondering if you asked Fisher a follow up. I would be curious to know what she meant by “seemingly”. She has been throwing around a lot of baseless accusations recently, and it’s a bit irresponsible of you as a journalist to continue giving her a platform for them if she has no supporting to evidence to back it up.

    • What I was getting at is that even if it’s wildly unpopular to talk about, this is a belief more than one or two people share. The original post had a ton of comments on it, though it’s since been deleted (at least I can’t see it anymore). Unconventional remarks are a part of politics now: look at what’s happening nationally.

  2. John, you’re right about this being the new norm at the national level, but why be a part of the problem? People like Trump and, in Hoboken, Tiffanie fisher, make “unconventional” and baseless remarks all the time because journalists do not adequately push back. If Tiffanie is basing this most recent baseless remark on having seen a single social post of the mom of an aggrieved promotional candidate than let Tiffanie say precisely that. Leaving her quote in your article without proper context suggests there’s much more to this than apparently there is. There is a responsibility to hold elected officials accountable for what they say, and we are witnessing at the national level what happens when journalists abdicate this responsibility. So my respectful suggestion is that you ask the simple follow up question to Tiffanie: “what ‘noise’ and from whom do you hear it?”

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