Lawrence Township career firefighter Michael Ratcliffe has been promoted to fire lieutenant in the Lawrence Township Fire Department.
Ratcliffe was sworn into office by Mayor John Ryan at the Lawrence Township Council’s March 21 meeting. His wife, Ann, and his son, James stood at his side.
“This is a very special promotion. Mike is only the second career firefighter to be appointed lieutenant,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Jack Oakley. Ratcliffe was hired as a career firefighter in 2013.
The Lawrence Township Fire Department consists of six career firefighters, one of whom is the lieutenant. The career firefighters work daytime, Monday through Friday. Volunteer firefighters from the Lawrenceville, Lawrence Road and Slackwood fire companies provide coverage overnight and on the weekend.
“Mike has known about the fire service his entire life. His father spent 40 years as a volunteer firefighter in their hometown of Metuchen,” Oakley said.
Ratcliffe joined the Lawrence Road Volunteer Fire Company as a volunteer firefighter as a Rider University freshman in 1992, Oakley said. During Rider University’s study abroad program in England, he responded to emergency calls with the London Fire Brigade.
At the Lawrence Road Volunteer Fire Company, Ratcliffe served as lieutenant, captain, administrative president and company historian, Oakley said.
Prior to joining the Lawrence Township Fire Department, Ratcliffe was the crime reporter for Tand the editor of the Lawrenceville Patch, Oakley said. He also wrote a book about the history of the Trenton Fire Department.
“I am humbled to see you all here,” Ratcliffe said. The attendees included career and volunteer firefighters from neighboring fire departments.
Ratcliffe said the fire service has been a large part of his life, and it is something that he treasures. Each day is enjoyable, exciting and different, he said.
“It truly is, as any firefighter will tell you, the best job in the world,” Ratcliffe said.