Newsroom - 9/29/2023

Hackensack Fire Department Announces

Retirement of Chief Thomas Freeman

Thomas Freeman, a dedicated public servant and the esteemed Fire Chief of the Hackensack Department, has announced his retirement after a remarkable tenure that spanned over four decades. Born in Hackensack in 1962, Chief Freeman’s service to the community began when he was hired by the Hackensack Fire Department in October 1983.

“We are immensely grateful for Chief Freeman’s unwavering dedication and steadfast leadership throughout his exemplary career with the Hackensack Fire Department,” said Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse. “Under his guidance, our fire department achieved remarkable milestones and advancements, leaving an indelible mark on our community’s safety. Chief Freeman’s family legacy, deeply rooted in the fire service, speaks to a profound commitment to protecting and serving our city. On behalf of the entire community, I extend our heartfelt appreciation for his years of service and wish him a well-deserved and fulfilling retirement.”

Chief Freeman’s career was marked by steadfast commitment and exceptional achievements within the fire service. He rose through the ranks, demonstrating his passion and expertise, achieving notable milestones:

  • Promoted to Lieutenant in February 1990

  • Promoted to Captain in February 1997

  • Promoted to Deputy Chief in March 2002

  • Assigned Acting Fire Chief in March 2008

  • Promoted to Chief of Department in March 2009


A third-generation Hackensack firefighter, Chief Freeman continued the family legacy with his grandfather, Jack Freeman, and father, Ronald Freeman Sr., both esteemed firefighters within the Hackensack Fire Department. In total, the Freeman family has contributed over a century of dedicated service to the fire service.

Throughout Chief Freeman’s tenure, the Hackensack Fire Department achieved numerous milestones under his leadership, including:

  • Attaining the prestigious ISO Class #1 designation, a distinction shared by only two departments in New Jersey and 70 nationwide.

  • Increasing the department’s manpower from 99 to 106, enhancing the city’s emergency response capabilities.

  • Spearheading an in-house program to support all HFD members who volunteered at Ground Zero, ensuring their access to essential health screening and compensation resources.

  • Implementing critical department restructuring, including a dedicated Deputy Chief for Firefighter Safety and Training.

  • Acquiring significant state and federal grants to fund essential departmental initiatives.

  • Overseeing the construction of a state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center at Fire Headquarters.

  • Championing the EMT initiative, mandating EMT certification for all firefighters hired since 2015, enhancing the department’s medical response capabilities.


The Mayor and Council, City Manager, Deputy City Manager and all City Departments extends its deepest gratitude to Chief Thomas Freeman for his exemplary service and wishes him a fulfilling and joyous retirement.