Jersey City promotes 8 new firefighters, including grandson of city’s 1st Black firefighter

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The City of Jersey City promoted eight new firefighters, including the grandson of the city’s first Black firefighter, at a City Hall ceremony this morning.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

Dwayne Taylor, whose father was also a city firefighter, is a third-generation firefighter in Jersey City. When his grandfather, Thomas Gerald Taylor, was hired in 1950, he became the JCFD’s first African American firefighter.

“Today we have the privilege of promoting his grandson,” began Mayor Steven Fulop.

“Hague-Eggers administration and fire commissioner exercised preferential treatment of applicants and the Hague Eggers dictatorship, prevented any and all assignments of any colored firemen for 36 years and until he was out of office,” he read from a 1950 news article.

Thomas Gerald Taylor he went on to become a co-founding member of the Vulcan Pioneers of New Jersey, a civic organization consisting of Black and other minority firefighters from northern New Jersey municipalities.

Fulop added that his administration made a “commitment to changing the Jersey City Fire Department and making sure it truly reflects the diversity that is Jersey City. We pride ourselves on being the most diverse city in the United States of America.”

“I share this proud day with my family and community. It started with my grandfather breaking through boundaries as the first Black firefighter in one of New Jersey’s largest cities, and it continues today with me being promoted to battalion chief. It’s something my grandfather likely never imagined would happen 60 years later,” noted Battalion Chief Dwayne Taylor.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to carry on my grandfather’s and father’s legacies by serving this great community.”Also joining the rank of battalion chief are Andy Azize, Sr., Bela Vaszlav, and Roberto Robalino.

Additionally, Raymond Gracia, Collin Caesar, Daniel Pellegrino, and Osmell Estrada were promoted to captain.

“As we continue to strengthen our department with the best firefighters in the state, we need to include quality leadership throughout our firehouses citywide. Today’s promotions achieve exactly that,” added Fire Chief Steven McGill.

“These new captains and battalion chiefs have worked hard to get to where they are today, and we appreciate their commitment to serving Jersey City and keeping the community safe.”

At the ceremony, Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey represented the council while County Commissioner (D-5) and Hoboken Public Safety Advisor Anthony Romano represented the county.

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