Fire Officers

Fire line officers are elected to position by the membership of the company. Requirements of time in the company, training, and run status must be met to be eligible for the different positions. The fire service reflects a para-military hierarchical structure and the officers of the company are no exception.

Officers are assigned call-signs, like apparatus, to use in radio transmissions. The first number represents the station they are assigned to (with the exception of the Chief, Station 9 is simply where the offices are located). The second number, 8, is reference to a chief officer, and the letter is representative of their level.

Chief of the Department


A.J. Schall Jr.

A.J. Schall Jr. has been a member of Aetna since 1999 and is currently the Chief of the Department. Schall is certified as an EMT, NFPA Firefighter I/II, NFPA Fire Instructor I/II, Swift Water Tech, Blue Card Command, NFPA Fire Officer I/II along with several ICS and Incident Management Courses.

Chief Schall got his start in public safety in 1994 as a volunteer with the Kane County (Illinois) Office of Emergency Management. While studying at St. Ambrose University, Chief Schall was employed by the Department of Public Safety. Chief Schall graduate in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance.

Upon graduation, Schall began his professional career with Bank of America, where he entered in to a rigorous management development program. He has held positions in customer service and sales, management, facilities management, event coordination, and group relationship management. He has worked with large corporate budgets, negotiated key contracts, and has nearly two decades of experience in upper level management.

Chief Schall became the Director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) in 2015. Schall brings a background in public safety to the agency, complementing it with emergency management and corporate experience and currently serves as the Director and Homeland Security Advisor.

Schall continues his professional development completing the US Army War College Commandant’s National Security Program in 2016, and most recently the Naval Post Graduate School Executive Leaders Program. In the winter of 2020, Schall began as an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware.

A.J. Schall moved to Delaware in 1998 and currently lives in Newark with his two sons.

Deputy Chief Administrative

Deputy 7


Deputy Chief Community Outreach and Climate

Deputy 8

Bryan Berkley


Deputy Chief Operations

Deputy 9

David Bailey


Deputy Chief Training

Deputy 10

Steven Gallaher

Deputy Chief Gallaher has been a member of Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder Co since 1999. He has numerous training hours through the Delaware State Fire School up to and including Fire Officer I. He has previously served as Assistant Engineer, Ladder Captain, and Assistant Chief. Steven is also an 11-year U.S. Army Veteran where he served with the 160th SOAR(A) out of Ft. Campbell, KY as a MH-60 Crew Chief and T.I. He currently works for an aerospace company as a Quality Manager.

Assistant Chief


Sola Johnson

Assistant Chief Johnson has been a member of the Aetna Hose Hook and Ladder Company since 2014 and previously served as a Captain. She holds Pro-Board Certification as Firefighter I and II, Fire Instructor I and II, Fire Officer I, II, and III, Hazardous Materials Technician, Hazardous Materials Branch Safety Officer, and Incident Safety Officer. She also holds certifications as a Nationally Registered EMT and Swift Water Technician.

Assistant Chief

Support Services


Patricia Fox

Following in her Dad’s footsteps, Patricia joined Aetna in January 1997 while attending the University of Delaware.

She graduated from Wilmington University with a BS in Elementary Education, a M.Ed. in Special Education and M.Ed. in School Leadership. She taught Elementary Education for several years while working her way through her Masters Degrees.

She began teaching for the Delaware State Fire School as a Field Instructor in April 2008 and in 2019, she was hired full time as the Training Administrator in charge of EMS programs. She has held many leadership positions in Aetna including EMS Lt, Fire Captain, Asst Chief and Deputy Chief.

Patricia has been a Nationally Registered EMT since 1998. She also holds Pro Board Certifications in Fire Fighter I/II, Fire Officer I/II, Fire Instructor I/II/III, and HazMat Awareness. She graduated from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs Police Command and Leadership class in November 2021 and is currently the President of the New Castle County Chief’s Association.

Assistant Chief


Andrew Happer

Assistant Chief Happer joined the fire service in 2008 and has been a member of Aetna since 2012. He previously held the rank of Captain from 2015-2019 and served as a Director in 2019. He helped develop the live-in program and was a live-in member for the inaugural year of the program (2017-2018).

Assistant Chief


Tyler Bailey


Chief Engineer


Scott Westbrook



Captain 7

Jeffrey Demicco

Captain Demicco has been with Aetna since 2009. He has completed a variety of training including Firefighter 1 and HAZMAT Operations. He previously served as a Captain.

Engine /Squad Captain

Captain 9

Olivia Alexander

Captain Alexander joined Aetna in 2016 while attending the University of Delaware studying Neuroscience. She has a variety of training including Firefighter I & II and has been a live-in member for the past 3 years.

Ladder Captain

9 Captain 1

Dominic Santos

Captain Santos has been with Aetna since 2014. He has completed a variety of firefighter training including Firefighter I & II, Blue Card Incident Command, and is an EMT. He also serves as a Director.


Captain 10

Matt Creek


EMS Officers

EMS Captain

EMS Captain 9

Amy Fitzgerald

EMS Captain Fitzgerald is originally from Hillsdale, NJ. She graduated from the University of Delaware in 2009 with a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering. She is currently working as a Highway Engineer for a Newark design firm.

EMS Captain Fitzgerald joined Aetna in 2006 and became a NREMT-B and Delaware EMT-B in 2007. She has previously served as a Lieutenant for two years at Aetna, and as EMS Captain for 2 years and an EMS Deputy.


Lieutenant 7

Alec Thornton



Lieutenant 8

Chris Zistl

EMS Lieutenant 8 Chris Zistl joined the company in 1993, and has been a member for 25 years. He has held the previous position of EMS Captain, and also served on the Aetna Review Board. He is currently an engine/rescue driver, swiftwater rescue technician, and EMT. Chris has an Associate’s Degree in Fire Protection Engineering, and currently works at Bank of America.


Lieutenant 10

Mike Aulen

Lieutenant Aulen joined Aetna in the beginning of 2000. He has held the offices of Engine Captain and Rescue Captain. He is an interior firefighter and holds certifications as, NREMT, Field Training Officer, American Heart Association CPR/ AED and First Aid instructor, and Stop The Bleed Instructor. He has many hours of Technical Rescue Training including being a certified Swift Water Rescue Technician, Advanced Vehicle Rescue and Big Rig/Heavy Rescue Operations, NFA Incident Safety Officer. He is currently employed by Odessa Fire Company as a full time career firefighter/ EMT. When not working or at the firehouse you can often find him enjoying time with his kids and wife, at the beach or on the water Surf / Saltwater fishing.

Administrative Officers


Dan Seador

Mr. Seador joined Aetna in 1980 and has served as the President since 2017. In addition, Dan has previously served as Vice President, Director, Deputy Chief and Assistant Chief. During this time Dan has coordinated a number of strategic initiatives including the needs assessment and construction of our Glasgow station. Dan has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and also attended Ohio University for Communications Management. After 33 years of service with the Emergency Medical Services Division of the New Castle County Department of Public Safety, Dan retired as an EMS Assistant Chief in 2015.

Vice President

Tim Harris

Mr. Harris has been a member of Aetna since 1987 and has served as Director since 2017. He previously has served as Secretary and Ambulance Lieutenant. He continues to be active on Aetna’s ambulances and has served on the same ambulance duty crew for over 30 years. He is a graduate of Michigan Technological University with a B.S. in Social Sciences and was commissioned into the US Army after graduation. After graduation he held leadership and staff positions while assigned to an armor battalion in the US Army Europe. Following active duty, he held staff positions while assigned to an Army Reserve unit. He was employed by MBNA/Bank of America in positions in Security, Collections, and Credit Acquisition. Following a corporate merger, he left banking and worked for the Claymont Fire Company as a Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician and later as Career Staff Supervisor before retiring in 2019. He holds certifications as National Registered Emergency Medical Technician, Delaware Emergency Medical Technician, Fire Officer II, Confined Space Rescue Technician, Rope Rescue Technician and is an instructor for the Delaware State Fire School. He and his wife Irene live in Newark with their three working search dogs.


Erin Browne

Ms. Browne has been a member of Aetna since 1999 and has served on the Board of Directors since February 2020. She is currently responsible for bylaws and policy development. Erin has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Delaware and has worked full time in local law enforcement since 2004 where she currently serves as a Police Lieutenant. Erin also actively rides at Aetna and holds numerous public safety certifications including NFPA Firefighter II, Officer I, NREMT. She is also a DE COPT Certified Instructor and graduate of the NJSACOP Command and Leadership program.


Ewonnu Campbell



Andrew Cavanaugh

Mr. Cavanaugh has been a member of Aetna since 2005 and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2020. He is currently Chairs the Health and Wellness Committee and Co-Chairs the Departments College Live In program. He also serves a Training Captain for Aetna. Andrew has also held the positions of Deputy Chief, Assistant Chief, Engine Captain and Safety Officer during his time at Aetna. Andrew has a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Administration from Neumann University. Mr. Cavanaugh also holds numerous public safety certifications including Fire Officer II, Instructor II, Confined Space Rescue Tech l/ll, Rope Rescue Tech I/II, Vehicle Rescue Tech I/II and Incident Safety Officer. Andrew is a Captain with the Wilmington Fire Department and is currently assigned to Ladder 1. During his career in Wilmington, he has held numerous leadership positions including the departments executive officer and as a training and safety officer.


Steve Debold



Paul McCloskey

Mr. McCloskey joined Aetna in 1981. Previous positions include Ambulance Lt. and pump operator. Current responsibilities as a Board of Director are Historic research and preservation, document archiving, IT Committee, and company website. Paul is also one of the company photographers. Outside of Aetna, Paul is a Sr Fraud Investigator for BNY Mellon.


Gene Niland

Mr. Niland began his fire service career in 1965 in Avondale, PA and joined Aetna in 1977. He has served on the board for much of the last twenty years and currently chairs the Human Resources and Insurance Committees. He has also served as a lieutenant and EMS Captain and coordinated truck company operations training for nearly 27 years. An army veteran, Gene retired as a Facility manager for Hewlett Packard and currently enjoys time with his five grandchildren.


Frank Richardson

Frank began his fire service career in 1962 at the Minquas Fire Company in Newport where he served as Captain and Assistant Chief. He joined Aetna in 1973 and has served as an Assistant Chief and on the Board of Directors. He was a firefighter with the Fairfax County (VA) Fire and Rescue Service and Secretary of Local 2068 of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Frank has been an instructor for the state fire schools of Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Additional positions include: Senior Instructor, Delaware State Fire School; Director, Montgomery County (PA) Fire Academy; Department Chair and Instructor, Fire Protection Engineering and Safety Management Technologies, Del Tech; Professor of Fire Service Administration, Utah Fire and Rescue Academy of Utah Valley University; Training Specialist, National Fire Academy.

Frank’s education includes an AAS, Fire Science (Northern Virginia); BA English (UD); MS, Public Safety Administration (St. Joseph’s University); PhD, Public Policy (UD). Frank holds a Certificate in Specialized Training in Emergency Services from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation and was a member of the South Central (PA) Critical Incident Stress Management Team. He also has a US Coast Guard Merchant Marine Officers license for sail and power vessels of 50 tons. He is a member of the sailing crew and educator on the Kalmar Nyckel, The Tall Ship of Delaware.

Frank served as a grunt and field medic with Echo Recon, 1st/7th, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in the Republic of Vietnam and worked as a medic in the emergency room of the Kimbrough Army Hospital. Frank travels (17 countries, 50 states), hikes the Western mountains and deserts, and sails the bays of Maryland and Maine.


Dominic Santos

Captain Santos has been with Aetna since 2014. He has completed a variety of firefighter training including Firefighter I & II, Blue Card Incident Command, and is an EMT. He previously served as Ladder Captain.


Melissa Weyl


Financial Secretary


Recording Secretary

Thomas Shipman

Thomas (Tom) has been a member of Aetna HH&L since 2004 after starting his Emergency Service career at the University of Delaware Emergency Care Unit in 2000. He also served on an industrial HAZMAT team at Agilent Technologies.

Tom has served as Recording Secretary since 2016. He has actively served on the following Company committees: Buildings & Grounds, Constitution & By-Laws, IT, Long Range Planning & Finance Committees. He also previously served as an Assistant Engineer at Station 7.

Tom holds a Bachelor’s & Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, with a minors in Civil Engineering and Economics from the University of Delaware.

Fire Recorder

Sam Palermo

Sam is currently a Life Member, joining Aetna in 1977, after 13 years with Minquas in Newport [Sta. 23]. He has been an active member since joining, holding the office of Assistant Chief [78-B] from 2001 until 2006 and Fire recorder since 2007. Sam also served on the By-laws committee and Review Board. Sam has conducted probationary training and helped revise the Aetna probie manual.

Currently, Sam is a haz mat instructor at the DSFS, since 1973 and currently operates with both the county decon team and the county haz mat team. He is also an engine driver and operates out of Station 7. Sam designed the "Junkyard Dog" patch and wall logo at Station 7.

Public Information Officer

Lawrence Tan

Lawrence E. Tan has been a member of Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder Company since 1985 and currently serves as the Public Information Officer (PIO). He is a Nationally Registered Paramedic, Certified Healthcare Emergency Professional and Business Continuity Management Planner.

Tan started as a junior firefighter with the Talleyville Fire Company in 1978. He served as a paramedic with the Emergency Medical Services Division of the New Castle County Department of Public Safety, retiring as Chief of Emergency Medical Services after over 37 years of credited service. During his tenure with New Castle County, he served on the Delaware EMS Oversight Council (DEMSOC), Advanced Life Support (ALS) Standards Committee of the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline, FEMA Region III Regional Advisory Council, federal InterAgency Board, and First Responder Resource Group (FRRG) with the Science & Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He also served as a Commissioner on the National Commission on Children and Disasters.

He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Wilmington University and Widener University School of Law. He also attended the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Contact information: publicinfo@aetnahhl.org