Allentown Fire Chief Lee T. Laubach Jr. is retiring effective August 17.
Laubach is a 25-year veteran of the department, who has served as chief since February 2015.
Mayor Ray O’Connell said, “Lee has been an outstanding chief. He has managed what I believe to be an extremely talented department. Our specialty teams are among the finest which is a testament to the chief’s overall leadership.”
“I believe during my time as chief we have reinforced and stabilized the foundation of the Allentown Fire Department,” Laubach wrote in his letter of retirement to Mayor O’Connell. “Local 302 and the fire administration have worked together to address operational shortfalls and improve safety for our members. I am sure both entities will work together along with city administration to improve public safety for the benefit of our citizens and our fire department staff.”
Laubach joined the department in 1993. He was promoted to Fire Specialist in August of 2002, later promoted to Lieutenant in April 2006 and was promoted to Fire Marshal in June of 2008. He was promoted to Captain of Public Affairs in October 2009 and was promoted to Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention in September 2010. He was promoted to Deputy Chief of Operations in 2014.
Laubach is the handler for K9 Judge who will also be retiring after eight years of service to the city and the region. K9 Judge performed more than 550 fire investigations and was the 2016 American Humane Hero Dog winner for the Arson Dog Category.
Laubach was named the department’s 2010 Firefighter of the Year.
Chief Laubach is credited with the city’s receipt of a $500,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development toward the purchase of a new fire pumper. The city expects delivery of the newest to be manufactured vehicle in January 2019 and comes on the heels of this year’s purchase of two rescue pumpers that were included in the 2018 capital budget. Delivery of those vehicles is expected this December.
The 122-person department maintains seven fire engines and one ladder truck from six fire stations spread across the city.
Laubach has also served as the city’s Emergency Management Coordinator.
An interim chief will be appointed upon the effective date of Laubach’s retirement.