Van Pfefferle Acting Head of Fire Dept.

Named as Mertz Gets Leave and Prepares to Retire on Jan. 15

Camden Courier-Post – November 17, 1949

Camden has a new acting fire chief today — William Van Pfefferle.

The new department head was appointed by Safety Director E. George Aaron, after he received a letter Wednesday from Acting Chief Walter Mertz, announcing his desire to retire on Jan. 15. Mertz also requested a leave of absence until that date. The leave was granted.

Van Pfefferle, now a battalion chief, will fill the acting chief’s post during the interim, Aaron said.

Both men have been stationed at fire headquarters, Fifth and Arch streets.

Mertz, who is 72 and lives at 3016 Constitution Road, has been a member of the fire department since Oct 1, 1911. He was promoted to lieutenant on Oct. 1, 1915, then raised to captain on April 1, 1918, became battalion chief on Sept. 14, 1932, and two years later was raised to deputy chief.

On the retirement of the late John Lennox Mertz assumed the acting chief’s duties Nov. 9, 1945.

Van Pfefferle joined the department Oct 1, 1917, as an electrician. At that time the fire department had several pieces of electrically driven apparatus with power supplied by storage batteries. At that time fire department personnel had been depleted because of War I service.

Due to his experience with electrically driven equipment, Van Pfefferle was placed in charge of all apparatus in the city on July 1, 1918. He was promoted to junior captain on Feb 2, 1927; senior captain, March 30, 1930, and to battalion chief on Sept 18, 1944.

Van Pfefferle, who is 58, lives at 619 North Fourth Street.

The Civil Service Commission has called for an examination for fire chief, with battalion chiefs and captains eligible to take the test.

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