South Orange swears in new deputy fire chief

Photo Courtesy of Robin Wallace
David Klugel, above, was sworn in as deputy fire chief at the South Orange Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 13.

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — South Orange Fire Capt. David Klugel, a 10-year veteran of the South Orange Fire Department, was sworn in as deputy chief at the South Orange Board of Trustees meeting Monday, Dec. 13.

According to a statement from the SOFD, as well as FMBA Locals 40 and 240, Klugel grew up in South Orange and was appointed as a firefighter by the New Jersey Civil Service Commission exam in September 2011. In November 2017, he was promoted to fire captain by the NJCSC competitive exam. He earned a N.J. fire inspector license and the accompanying certification in March 2018. 

“The South Orange Fire Department and the people of South Orange are extremely fortunate to have a professional firefighter with Deputy Chief Klugel’s experience, training and credentials in this important leadership role,” the statement read. “We would also like to thank the South Orange Village Board of Trustees and village President Sheena Collum for making this long-overdue appointment. Our communities are facing unprecedented emergency response crises due to the impacts of extreme weather and climate change, extensive redevelopment that will increase the number of high-density structures, and the COVID-19 pandemic, among other challenges. Yet, for too long, the SOFD has been under-resourced and under-staffed, with crucial leadership roles left vacant, as various plans to establish a joint department with Maplewood, and essentially disband the SOFD, have been explored. 

“We are encouraged that the appointment of Deputy Chief Klugel signals renewed support and commitment to the SOFD and to the safety of South Orange,” the statement continued. “We hope that Deputy Chief Klugel’s appointment will also encourage our young firefighters to make similar investments in their professional development through the civil service training and exam structure, confident in their futures serving the people of South Orange as members of the SOFD.”