Allentown Fire Chief Jim Wehr is retiring next month after completing nearly 27-years with the department.
Mayor Ray O’Connell appointed Wehr interim chief of the department in August 2018. He was confirmed by City Council in October 2019.
Over the course of his career, Chief Wehr has been recognized as Firefighter of the Year, honored for valor which according to department guidelines involves a degree of danger of “extreme personal risk” and cited for heroism which according to department guidelines “involves personal risk.”
“Jim is a first-class fire fighter and has been an outstanding chief and leader of the department,” said O’Connell. “It has been my pleasure to work with him in upgrading the equipment and increasing the manpower strength of the department.”
When he was honored as the 2009 Firefighter of the Year, Chief Wehr served in the Central Fire Station office. He was cited for his professional manner, work ethic and flawless and timely handling of administrative duties. He had recently assumed command of the department’s dive team. Wehr was also recognized with a Certificate of Appreciation for his assistance in fund raising through extracurricular activities.
Chief Wehr also earned the Alfred W. Fischl Firefighter Service Award in 2014. The award is presented to an individual who has served the department for at least 20 years and has exemplified himself with consistent and dedicated work habits during that period.
Wehr joined the department in 1994 after having served in the U.S. Air Force. He was promoted to Fire Specialist in 2005, later promoted to Lieutenant in 2006 and was promoted to Captain in 2010. Wehr was promoted to Battalion Chief in 2012.
O’Connell intends to nominate Deputy Fire Chief Efrain “Freddy” Agosto Jr., to replace Wehr.
Agosto joined the department in 2003. He was promoted to fire marshal and inspector in 2012 and served as the assistant chief of fire prevention from 2014-18. He was promoted to deputy chief in 2018.
Agosto has been honored with five unit citations.