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On Monday, October 25th, members from Local 1803 visited the offices of Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks. Local 1803 raised money this year through the sale of Breast Cancer Awareness T-Shirts....
Friday, October 22nd, 2021
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Please consider purchasing 2021 Reading Fire Department Toy Drive apparel to help us get toys for local kids in need this Christmas. We appreciate you helping us in this great cause! Link posted below...
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Hired on February 1st of 1995, Judd Weber began his firefighting career on the C-Platoon where he was assigned as a jumper after graduating the fire academy. Firefighter Weber remained a jumper on C-s...
Friday, July 23rd, 2021
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Congratulations to the 2021 recruit class on their graduation of the fire academy. The recruit class has finished 6 months of strenuous training led by Lieutenant Batz and now will be assigned to stre...
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Firefighter Timothy O'Brien
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Congratulations to Firefighter Tim O'Brien on his retirement after more than 39 years of combined service to the City of Reading. O'Brien first served as a volunteer firefighter joining the Neversink Fire Company Engine 3 in Fall of 1978. Tim was officially hired by the department in August of 1992. After completing several months of training FF O'Brien was assigned to the D platoon. After 2 years of jumping on the D platoon, Tim took an assignment on the A platoon as Engine 9's firefighter in 1994. For years "Timmy-O" worked hose lines at most of the jobs on A platoon. In January of 2011, O'Brien slid across the rig to the driver's seat. Tim spent more than 23 years working out of the 9th and Marion House on the A platoon. Tim's distinct voice and mannerisms were a staple at Engine 9 and Ladder 3's quarters for many years. He enjoyed getting harassed as much as harassing others. Tim plans on taking it easy in his retirement and continuing to work his successful electrical business.

Photos from Tim's Last Tour

Photos from Tim's surprise breakfast

Tim answered some questions for us in the hope that a new firefighter or officer could capture some of his experience.


Question #1 - Apparatus/Tools/Equipment

Was there anything Apparatus/Tools/Equipment-wise during your career that you felt had a special need, operated quirky, or you felt was a potential problem.



I always liked the step-guns we carried on the Engines. I felt we never made use of them as much as we should have. For some reason we kept them hidden in compartments and guys wouldn't think about them being there. They were always very useful to stop the advancement of large fires out the backs of our row-homes & garages. It would have made sense to have them preconnected and ready to go.

Question #2 - Calls/Incidents/Experiences/Problem Buildings

Tell us about any calls, incidents, or experiences that offer a lesson learned for other firefighters (especially new ones). I'm sure you could think of many things in your career, but just pick out one or two things that come to mind as being most important.



Always know your surroundings. I can remember taking a hose line up over a roof at a fire with multiple structures involved. There was a lot of fire and dense smoke everywhere. My focus was fixed directly on the fire and not to my surroundings. When things began to clear I noticed I was within two feet of the walking off the edge of the roof.

Question #3 - Department History

Can you name something from the department that you feel we have lost over the years that might be good to bring back or recall? (procedure, policy, event, ceremony, etc)



We seem to have lost our identity and focus as a department. In the past few year I've observed guys in different uniforms, guys wearing sneakers, and some not even bothering to change into a uniform for after the shift started. We need to get back on track and focused. A retired Chief once said "Look Sharp Be Sharp!"

Question #4 - Your Wisdom

Can you write one thing that you feel would be helpful to pass on to new firefighter that could help them stay healthy & safe throughout their career?



Fighting fires in row homes and old warehouses are completely different than fighting fires in today's modern construction. I get to see it all the time while working as an electrician. As our older buildings get torn down, (by my brother at Dinosaur Demolition) they will be replaced with newer construction. Get an understanding of how fires act in these buildings. Never ever stop learning and listening! Take a moment and listen to the senior guys that have been here for awhile. Truly understanding this job only comes from experience and the knowledge from the guys that have come before you. If you're lucky, someday you'll be one of those senior guys.

Firefighter Timothy O'Brien
Photo by Nik Knauer
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Saturday, January 13th, 2018
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Recruit Bradley Shanaman has recently completed all of the requirements for the Reading Fire Academy. He had been previously assigned to the A platoon.
Saturday, January 13th, 2018
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Congratulations to John Diehm on 36 years of combined service to the City of Reading. John first joined the Riverside Fire Company in June of 1981. He was officially hired by the department on June 30th of 1988.
Saturday, January 13th, 2018
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Congratulations to Firefighter Donald Sassaman for serving the citizens of Reading for years. The "SASS" started when he joined as a volunteer with the Liberty Fire Company Engine 5 in December of 1980.
Friday, January 12th, 2018
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Congratulations to Firefighter David Doerrman on more than 41 years of combined service to the City of Reading. Dave first joined the Neversink Fire Company Engine 3 in May of 1976. Dave would then be hired by the department on February 1st 1993.
Tuesday, January 9th, 2018
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The 2017 Seagrave 100' tractor-drawn ladder truck has been officially delivered to the Reading Fire Department. The apparatus will be assigned to Ladder 1 from the 3rd and Court Street house. In the coming weeks firefighters will be trained by factory representatives on the operations and featur...
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
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Congratulations to Firefighter Tim O'Brien on his retirement after more than 39 years of combined service to the City of Reading. O'Brien first served as a volunteer firefighter joining the Neversink Fire Company Engine 3 in Fall of 1978.
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After a very successful toy drive campaign the Reading Firefighters raised nearly $7000 to purchase toys for the Salvation Army in Reading. A charity t-shirt was designed and sold to raise money for the cause with several persons donating directly without the shirt.
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At the end of the November, City Administration announced a plan to purchase a vacant property in the 900 block of Penn Street and begin construction of 2 fire stations for Downtown and the Northeast. The south-side of 900 block of Penn Street had previously been involved in a 3 alarm fire back in F...
Tuesday, December 19th, 2017
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In an urban environment such as the City of Reading parking is always at a premium. Area's designated for fire hydrants are always an easy answer to the desperate person to be able to park near their home.
Friday, December 15th, 2017
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The following assignment is per Personnel Directive 2017-41Robert Schoellkopf - Medic 4 "B" platoon(effective 12.24)
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WFMZ reporter Maria Salazar reached out to the department in regards to emergency vehicles responding to calls for service. Maria and camera man Andrew Valentino recently took a ride with Deputy Chief Rehr and Ladder 3 of the "A" platoon to observe traffic situations firefighters routinely...
Saturday, December 2nd, 2017
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Former Reading Firefighters Mark Civitarese and Marty Daniels recently took the 1959 Mack/Maxim Ladder 1 for a ride after completing aerial ladder work at Fire Line Equipment in Lancaster. The apparatus is nearing completion with gold-leaf work to come next.
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Congratulations to Paramedic Josh Schmeck on his appointment to Fire Department Administrative Officer. Josh was hired for EMS on April 22nd 2009 and assigned to Medic 2 on the "A" platoon. In 2011, the department sent Schmeck to the Allentown Fire Academy to receive firefighter training....
Saturday, November 25th, 2017
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On Saturday November 25th the Fire & Police hockey team travelled to the PPL center in Allentown for their very first game against Allentown Fire & Police. The Allentown Badge's defense was no match for the Reading team.
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The 15th annual MDA Black and Blue Ball was held at Classic Harley Davidson on Friday November 19th. The Reading Fire Department was once again asked to auction a birthday party for charity. The winner of the birthday party auction receives a complete birthday party with a ride in a fire truck.
Tuesday, November 14th, 2017
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The following assignment is per Personnel Directive 2017-38Matthew Azrolan - Engine 1 driver "B" platooneffective immediately
Tuesday, November 14th, 2017
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Early Tuesday morning Tower 1 was parked in a "secure" heavy-duty truck center for service when it was the victim of theft. Individuals forced entry into the center and stole several pieces of equipment which included: power saws, ventilations fans, flood lights, and hand tools.
Wednesday, November 8th, 2017
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The Reading Fire Department welcomes our newest member of the Fire Marshal's Office, canine "Gracie". Gracie is a 2-year-old yellow labrador who is being trained in explosives and accelerant detection.
Wednesday, November 1st, 2017
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The following assignments are per Personnel Directive 2017-35Nathan MacLane - Engine 1 FF "B" platoon (November 2nd)Jordan Bankert - Medic 4 "C" platoon (December 4th)
Tuesday, October 31st, 2017
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We want to welcome to Esmeralda Villasenor, who recently began working as the Fire Department Secretary on October 16th. Esmerelda started with the city in May of this year working in the Codes/Property Maintenance as a scheduling clerk.

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