Jerry Ziller, deputy chief of the Orange Fire Department, retired on April 11 after 30 years of service. A ceremony was held in his honor at the central fire station. Ziller will begin working for Open Industrial Partners in Orange. RECORD PHOTO: David Ball

Jerry Ziller, deputy fire chief of the Orange Fire Department, has seen several changes in his 30 years of service to the city. For instance, Ziller is the only firefighter in the history of the department to advance through five ranks, according to Chief David Frenzel. He also is the only certified emergency trainer in the city and served through two hurricanes.

He is the only firefighter, too, to serve in the old central station; the Orange Public Library; at the Port of Orange, aka The Hole, and the new central station.

It was, therefore, with “Very, very mixed emotions” Frenzel announced Ziller’s retirement from the OFD at a ceremony on the afternoon of April 11 at the central fire station.

“Jerry’s been a God-send to the department,” Frenzel said. “He’s a jack of all trades and a master of all. He has outstanding knowledge. He’s a great teacher. He’s the go-to guy and I know he will get the job done.”

Ziller, actually, is going straight to work for Open Industrial Partners in Orange after leaving the OFD.

Ziller joined the OFD on March 17, 1984 as a firefighter. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1991, captain in 1993 and battalion chief in 1998 before he was promoted to deputy chief.

Frenzel said Ziller was open to any type of training needed in the department including attending the police academy and obtaining peace officer certification to be an arson investigator.

Ziller performed other tasks for the department from applying for and administering grants, to pulling the wiring for the new central station.

Frenzel said Ziller saved the city tens of thousands of dollars by pulling the wiring in the building.

Ziller said it’s been an honor to serve in the OFD and the city of Orange has been good to him.

“I’m a very, very spoiled brat,” Ziller joked. “I feel sorry for the industrial facility I’m going to.”

Frenzel said the department’s loss is Open Industrial Partner’s gain.

“This isn’t a retirement ceremony; it’s an advancement and a celebration and a congratulations to new endeavors,” Ziller said. “Jerry made the department a better place to work.

Frenzel, likewise, got one last joke on his longtime co-worker.

“Jerry is from Gary, Indiana and he’s the first Yankee to retire from the department,” he said. “We’re going to miss the expertise Jerry brought.