Upper Allen Township Fire Dept. hires Tom Shumberger Jr. as new chief

UPPER ALLEN TOWNSHIP — Tom Shumberger Jr., a 37-year veteran of the Upper Allen Township Fire Department, has been elected chief of the 28-firefighter volunteer force, the fire department announced this week.

Shumberger’s one-year term began Jan. 9. He succeeds longtime chief Jim Salter. Elections for fire department officers are held annually.

Shumberger, an Upper Allen native, became a township firefighter in 1982 and served for 10 years as assistant chief and for the past decade as deputy chief.

“I started when I was 16, basically looking for something to do, and the fire department seemed a great way to spend time,” Shumberger said. “I believe it’s important to give back to the community and serving as a volunteer firefighter is a great way to help our neighbors.’’

Shumberger’s wife, Lori, leads the support force for the department, which provides food and beverages to firefighters during extended fire calls. His son Zach is a captain on the township force and a full-time firefighter in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

“Upper Allen is lucky to have dedicated volunteer firefighters like Tom Shumberger who give so much to keep all of us safe,’’ said township commissioners President Ken Martin. “With his experience and commitment to the department, I know Tom will be an excellent chief and build on the quality initiatives and foundation established by Chief Salter.”

As chief, Shumberger said he will focus on recruitment and retention to grow the department and that the renovation and expansion of the township firehouse at 100 Gettysburg Road will aid that effort.

The improvements, which include four private dorm rooms where firefighters can reside full time, will make a big difference to the force, Shumberger said.

The rooms would allow college students to live there once they join the department, he said.

“All they have to do is take some training and respond to fire calls while they’re at the station and we’ll give them a kitchen and a whole bunch of amenities. It’s perfect for a college kid,” he said.

The expansion also will provide casual live-in space for four to eight firefighters, as well as a new kitchen,  administrative offices,  new bunk room and meeting rooms.

Shumberger’s certifications and training include multiple command, hazardous-materials situations, vehicle rescue, advanced firefighting, and roof and trench rescue.

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