With the announcement of Fairfield Glade Fire Department Chief Bobby Smith’s retirement, effective Dec. 31, the FGFD board and membership voted at their meeting on Friday, Nov. 13, for candidate Tim Malone to become chief in the New Year.
Malone will become chief effective Jan. 1, and serve his two-year term.
“I’m still young enough where I think I could do a decent job,” Malone said.
Malone had the qualifications and was approached by the board who asked if he’d be interesting in serving as chief upon Smith’s retirement. He supplied his résumé to the board for consideration.
Malone hails from Mahwah, NJ, and began serving as a volunteer firefighter at the Mahwah Fire Company No. 2, and has served as a volunteer firefighter going on 41 years this coming March.
Malone was chief of that department from 2009-’10, the same department where his father was a firefighter and EMT for over 55 years, and also served as chief from 1968-’69.
His younger brother was also a volunteer firefighter there and was the assistant chief there when he passed away in the line of duty after answering a call in which smoke inhalation caused complications with his heart condition in 1996. His sister still serves at their New Jersey department as public information officer, firefighter and EMT.
“Always a volunteer. It’s a family thing,” he said. “It’s in my blood. It’s something I was raised in.”
Malone served in the National Guard for six years and worked at the Bergen County Utilities Authority for 25 years.
His wife of 28 years, Maryann, worked as a utility collector for 34 years.
Together they raised their two sons, Timothy and Tyler. Timothy is a cancer survivor, and was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 16. He is currently an EMT studying to be a doctor at the St. George’s University School of Medicine. Tyler is currently a junior at the University of Tennessee, but is also a volunteer firefighter at their New Jersey hometown department where his father, uncle, aunt and grandfather served.
Malone went on to say that the firefighters were always a close second family.
Tim and Maryann visited Fairfield Glade in 2016 on a Wyndham vacation, and he said they “fell in love with the area.”
The Malones retired to Fairfield Glade in November 2018.
“We looked everywhere and [Fairfield Glade] reminded me of where we were in New Jersey, but I don’t have to shovel snow,” he said.
“We’re lucky we could retire here. The only thing I miss is the MetLife Stadium and the food.”
Malone had also worked as the safety services security supervisor for the beloved stadium that’s home to the New York Giants and New York Jets and serves as a big concert venue.
Malone joined Fairfield Glade Fire Department in May 2019, and is currently serving as captain.
“It’s a totally different type of department, because I come from a more suburban/urban area where we drove to the fire house, we jumped on the truck and then we went to the call,” he said.
“Here, everybody responds to the scene in their own vehicles, and the engineer brings the truck. So, it took a little while to get used to.
“It’s a different way of doing things.”
He added that having a full-time job and family when he served in New Jersey made his volunteer time a little more difficult to manage and he learned to delegate and trust in his subordinates.
Now being retired, he likes it even better because he can be fully invested.
According to Malone, the camaraderie and brotherhood of a fire department is absolutely true. It’s that cohesive bond that helps them deal with the traumas they encounter as they serve.
“You talk amongst yourselves. We are our best support group. Everybody comes together,” he added.
“You learn when it comes down to you’re going in and you don’t know what’s on the other side of that door, you come together and trust each other with your life,” he added.
Malone is very excited about his new upcoming role as chief of Fairfield Glade Fire Department. He has attended chief’s orientation.
“You do the best you can,” he continued. “Chain of command is the key. The buck stops here, and you are ultimately responsible.
“My first responsibility is to the citizens and residents of Fairfield Glade, using the department as a tool to keep them safe.”