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
Andrew Bowerson currently holds the position of Fire Chief. He was elected to this position in 2015. Prior to being elected Aetna's Fire Chief, Andrew worked his way through the ranks and has held the positions of EMS Lieutenant, Engine Captain, 2nd Assistant Chief, 1st Assistant Chief and Deputy Fire Chief. During his 21 years at Aetna, Andrew has been a Fire Line Officer for 16 of those years. Andrew previously served as a Director for the New Castle County Chiefs Association.
Station 7 Officers
Deputy Chief Debold joined Aetna in 1993, he has a variety of certifications including Firefighter I & II, Fire Instructor I, Fire Officer I & II, Blue Card incident Command, and Emergency Medical Responder as well as numerous other DSFS courses. He has previously held the positions of EMS Lieutenant, Captain, 2nd Assistant Chief, 1st Asst, and Director. He is currently employed by New Castle County 911 as a Telecommunicator II - Fire/medical.
Captain Johnson has been a member of the Aetna Hose Hook and Ladder Company since 2014. 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.
station 8 Officers
Assistant 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.
Responsible for Rescue 8 and Engine 8
Station 9 Officers
Deputy Chief Schall has been a member since 1999. He has held numerous roles including Captain, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief, and Chief of the Department. Deputy Chief Schall is currently the Director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA).
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).
Captain Matthew Heebner joined the fire service in 2015 and has been a member of Aetna Hose, Hook and Ladder Company since 2017. His training includes Firefighter I, Vehicle Extrication Technician, Hazardous Materials Operations, Incident Management and Nationally Registered EMT. Matt is currently a Senior at University of Delaware Studying Mechanical Engineering.
9 Captain 1
9 Captain 2
Station 10 Officers
Deputy Chief Sands has been a member of the Aetna Hose, Hook and Ladder Company since 2011. He previously held the position of Captain for 3 years and Assistant Chief for 3 years. He has completed a wide variety of training in fire suppression and rescue including Firefighter I and II, Fire Instructor I, Swiftwater Rescue Technician I, Advanced Vehicle Rescue, Blue Card Incident Command, National Fire Academy Safety Officer, and Fire Officer I. Jeff has an extensive EMS background and is a past coordinator of the University of Delaware Emergency Care Unit (UDECU). He has been an EMT since 2008 and is a Field Training Officer. Jeff previously worked as a Sergeant for St. Francis EMS in Wilmington and as a career firefighter/EMT with the Mill Creek Fire Company and then the Christiana Fire Company. He currently works in emergency management. Deputy Sands also acts as our Operational Public Information Officer.