Allentown fire Chief Robert Scheirer is retiring.
Deputy Chief of Operations Bob Kudlak is being promoted to interim fire chief, according to Mayor Ed Pawlowski.
The city will conduct a national search for a permanent successor, according to Mike Moore, Allentown communications manager.
Scheirer’s retirement is effective January 18.
“Bob has been a dependable and effective leader of this department,” said Pawlowski in a news release Friday afternoon.
“He has earned the admiration of the men who served with him and those who ended-up under his command. He built an excellent reputation across this city in his 22 years on the job. We will miss his leadership and I am sad to see him go.”
“We have made great strides in the Allentown Fire Department modernizing our equipment and increasing our training opportunities,” said Scheirer.
“I am very proud in particular of our response to three hurricanes, including Super Storm Sandy, and the deadly natural gas explosion in February 2011. Those incidents put the fire department and a lot of city bureaus and departments to the test and our citizens were well served.”
Scheirer joined the fire department in 1991. In 2000, he was promoted to the position of fire marshal and in 2005 he was elevated to the position of captain of fire marshals. In 2006, Scheirer was promoted to the position of captain of public affairs and in 2007 rose to the position of administrative deputy chief and deputy chief of operations.
He was promoted to chief and emergency management coordinator in March 2008.
Scheirer earned numerous continuing education certificates in fire suppression, fire prevention and investigations, public information and education, fire safety and emergency eanagement.
Scheirer possesses the highest certification received for emergency management through the Pennsylvania Emergbency Management Agency.
Scheirer earned Departmental Awards for bravery, merit, unit citations and the Francis R. Bear Memorial Award for excellence in fire prevention and education. He has been recognized by the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate for his accomplishments.
Firefighting is a calling in the Scheirer family. Scheirer and his four brothers all served on the Allentown Fire Department. Bob’s grandfather, Fredrick (Fritz) Scheirer, retired as a deputy chief in 1969. His father, John Scheirer, retired as a lieutenant in 2001 after serving the city for 32 years.
Scheirer has agreed to support the city over the next 12 months and serve in a consultative role to assist in the transition to a new chief. Scheirer will be paid $6,500 for his services.
Kudlak joined the department in 1986. In 2005, he was promoted to the position of Fire Marshal, and in 2007 he was elevated to the position of captain of public affairs. In 2008, he was promoted to the position of captain of fire marshals and was then promoted to deputy chief of operations.
Deputy chief of operations is second in command in the department. Among other things, the deputy chief of operations supervises and evaluates assistant chiefs, battalion chiefs, captains, lieutenants, fire marshals and firefighters assigned to the division as well as being responsible for all personnel and apparatus assigned to the department.
“I have always been impressed by the passion and commitment Kudlak has shown in the daily fulfillment of his duties,” said Pawlowski. “He is the recipient of many awards and citations. They are ample evidence of the time and energy he pours into his job.”
Kudlak has received various departmental awards and numerous unit citations. He also has been recognized by the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate for his accomplishments.
The 27-year veteran of the department has worked with the Lehigh Valley Hospital Burn Prevention Foundation and is certified in the Juvenile Fire Setter Prevention Education program for the city. He has educated thousands of children in Fire Safety and Fire Education.
Kudlak is certified as a fire investigator through the National Association of Fire Investigators and is a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators. He is a certified expert witness in the field of arson and fire investigation, and is licensed by Pennsylvania as a fire inspector and codes administrator. Kudlak has attained additional certifications in Hazardous Materials awareness, water rescue and is an electronic search specialist through Project Lifesaver out of Chesapeake, Va.
Kudlak holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Muhlenberg College.
He is a second generation firefighter for the City of Allentown. His father, Robert Sr., retired in 1996 after serving the city for 27 years.