Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Stewart, a 37-year-veteran with the city’s fire department, has died.
Stewart, 61, who first joined the department as a firefighter in 1979, received multiple awards during his tenure with the department. The cause of death was not immediately available today.
Ten years after becoming a firefighter, Stewart was promoted to captain of Rescue One. In 1998, he was named Battalion Chief and promoted to Deputy Chief in 2011. He additionally worked with Engine 8 and Engine 5 during his years of service.
Jersey City Fire Chief Darren Rivers said Stewart’s death comes as a “shock” and the department is “just trying to make sense of it.”
“Kevin was not only a co-worker, but a true friend and always a consummate professional,” Rivers said.
Rivers said Stewart’s service extended beyond devoting his life to the department. He also worked with urban search and rescue teams and organized missions to South Africa to train firefighters.
While working for Jersey City, Stewart earned multiple fire and rescue certifications, received unit recognitions, and service awards. He was named officer of the year in 2001.
Stewart was a third generation Jersey City firefighter, having followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He hoped his career would accumulate 100 years of service from his family.
“It’s a terrible loss for the family and the entire fire department,” Rivers said.
Funeral arrangements are pending.