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Albany’s New Fire Chief Is Sworn In At City Hall

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan swore in Joseph Gregory as Fire Chief this morning.

Last month upon the retirement of Chief Warren Abriel, Sheehan announced the appointment of Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Gregory as the city's 13th chief in its 151 years as a professional fire department.    "Joe Gregory has been part of the chief's command staff for a number of years now. He has tremendous experience in the fire service and he is gonna be leading a department that continues, I think, to deliver outstanding professional services to the city of Albany and is very excited about the opportunity."

Although Gregory has been chief since July 29th, Friday’s function in the city hall rotunda made it official.

“I thank all of you for sharing this moment with me,” Gregory said.

Gregory, who hails from a long line of firefighters, says he came to Albany from New York City to attend Siena College. Upon graduation he worked briefly for the city of Albany as a budget analyst. He worked for the New York City Fire Department as a fire alarm dispatcher, before returning to Albany where he was appointed as a firefighter in 1998. For the past five years he's been Deputy Chief. He turns 60 next month.

Sheehan, a second-term Democrat, says there may be some changes under Gregory's leadership:  "We've been speaking with the firefighters union about ambulances, about the delivery of emergency services, so this is something that we're gonna be continuing to look at as we move forward and as we build a department that is really predominately providing responses to emergency calls as opposed to fighting fires."

Made up of 16 companies, the Albany Fire Department has approximately 245 members. Here’s Gregory:    "The Albany Fire Department is rich in tradition, yet eager to move forward.  We appreciate and honor those that have come before us to make this proud department what it is today. And as we move into the third decade of the 21st century, we must embrace the challenges of preserving the past, while pushing ahead to continue as one of the best departments in the country."

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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