Jersey City Promotes First, Female Deputy Fire Chief

 Photo Credit:  City of Jersey City

Mayor Fulop Promotes Jersey City’s First Female Deputy Chief to Become NJ’s Highest-Ranking Professional Female Fire Officer

Trailblazing Female Fire Officer Makes History as Fulop Administration Strengthens JCFD’s Diverse Leadership

 JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop joined Public Safety Director James Shea and Fire Chief Steven McGill to promote four Deputy Chiefs on the Jersey City Fire Department at a ceremony inside City Hall this morning, including Jersey City’s first female Deputy Chief, Constance Zappella.  With this promotion, Deputy Chief Zappella now takes the title as New Jersey’s highest-ranking professional female fire officer.

“As the most diverse city in the nation and the largest municipal fire department in the state, we recognized early on that we needed to add more diverse representation throughout all ranks and so I am especially proud to swear in Deputy Chief Zappella as she is a true trailblazer and an inspiration to our youth in Jersey City and beyond,” said Mayor Fulop.  “Congratulations to all four of our new Deputy Chiefs who have worked very hard over the past two decades to support one another and keep our community safe.”

Born and raised in Jersey City, Constance Zappella has deep roots in the community where she most recently worked as Battalion Chief in the Greenville neighborhood.

“I am no longer the young girl who sought to change a century of outdated tradition.  I am now humbled and honored to serve as the highest-ranking professional female fire officer in the state and city where I was born and raised,” Deputy Chief Constance Zappella said of her historic promotion.  “The difference between my success and failure is the network of people I built who supported me throughout my journey.”

As the first female firefighter to join the Jersey City Fire Department, Deputy Chief Zappella has been a pioneer from the start of her career in 2003, working her way up the ranks to become a role model and pioneer for other females and minorities.  As a result of Mayor Fulop’s diversity recruitment efforts, for the first time in the fire department’s history, minority populations are now represented in every rank department-wide.  To date, there are 17 females on the Jersey City Fire Department, including Constance’s sister, Francesca, who was sworn in two years ago.

The four newly promoted Deputy Chiefs are:

  • Joseph Altomonte
  • Loren Hart
  • Shawn O’Connor
  • Constance Zappella

Since 2013, Mayor Fulop has promoted 16 Deputy Fire Chiefs, 35 Battalion Fire Chiefs, and 160 Fire Captains to further strengthen Jersey City’s emergency fire services.  This past summer, the Fulop Administration promoted the largest group of Captains since 1989.  Additionally, the month prior, Mayor Fulop announced the creation of two brand new fire companies to further boost fire safety citywide.  It had been 85 years since Jersey City added a fire company.

“With a combined total of 80-plus years of service protecting the Jersey City community, we are grateful for all four of our new Deputy Chiefs who have earned today’s promotion.  The more diversity we achieve throughout our ranks, the stronger we become as a fire department overall.  Deputy Chief Zappella is a shining example of how hard work and perseverance pays off,” said JCFD Chief McGill.