Lawrence Township swears in three new firefighters

Scott Jacobs
Plantlife start to turn with the fall weather at Colonial Lake Park in Lawrence Township on Nov 2.

There were smiles all around as three career firefighters, including a third-generation firefighter, were sworn into office by Mayor Christopher Bobbitt at the Lawrence Township Council’s Oct. 15 meeting.

Firefighters Justin Colucci, Todd Lenarski and Jaime Orochena have brought the number of Lawrence Township’s paid firefighters up to five. Two of the new firefighters are filling vacancies, and the third firefighter is filling a newly created position.

Lawrence Township relies on paid firefighters daytime on weekdays, and on volunteer firefighters from the Slackwood, Lawrence Road and Lawrenceville fire companies at night and on weekends.

Colucci, who grew up in Lawrence Township, is filling a new position created by the Lawrence Township Council to strengthen the paid firefighting staff from four members to five, Bobbitt said.

Colucci became interested in community service by watching his father, who was a Plainsboro Township police officer, Bobbitt said. Colucci joined the Lawrence Road Fire Co. in 2013. He is also a certified emergency medical technician.

Colucci loves arts and crafts and can usually be found in the back of the firehouse, where he tries to find new uses for discarded equipment, Bobbitt said. One of his most successful creations is a helmet dryer, made from a discarded fire hose coupling and the cooling fan from a discarded desktop computer.

Lenarski, who grew up in Lawrence Township, is filling a vacancy created when paid firefighter Shaun Dlabik moved over to the Hamilton Township Fire Department, Bobbitt said.

Lenarski is a third-generation firefighter who is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, father, uncles and brother, Bobbitt said. He joined the Slackwood Fire Co. as a cadet when he was 14, and became a full-fledged firefighter when he turned 18.

A former fire chief of the Slackwood Fire Co., Lenarski has earned the fire company’s President’s Award, the Chief’s Award and Firefighter of the Year award, Bobbitt said. He is one of the Slackwood Fire Co.’s most active members.

Orochena, who grew up in New York City and whose family now lives in Lawrence Township, is replacing firefighter Robert Santello, who retired. Orochena attended Syracuse University and was majoring in psychology, but took a leave of absence to move home to support his family, Bobbitt said.

Orochena’s passion for helping others, combined with the interpersonal and communication skills developed through his studies, led him to develop a strong interest in firefighting, Bobbitt said. He volunteered with the Hightstown Fire Co. previously.