Jeffrey Thompson Named Next Philadelphia Fire Commissioner

June 18, 2024
Jeffrey W. Thompson, a 35-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department, has been tapped to be the city's next fire commissioner.

Jun. 17—Deputy Fire Commissioner Jeffrey W. Thompson will become the next commissioner of the Philadelphia Fire Department, overseeing the more than 3,000 firefighters and medics who make up one of the city's largest agencies.

Thompson, 59, first joined the department in 1989, and has worked across the city, including spending more than 20 years at the station where firefighters are colloquially known as the "North Philly Cowboys." The Engine 50, Ladder 12 station is one of the busiest in the city and considered a coveted landing spot.

During a swearing-in ceremony Monday, Thompson said his father was a Philadelphia firefighter who retired one year before he joined the department.

"Now, 35 years later, I'm ready to use all of the knowledge, skills, and experience to make the department the best it can be," Thompson said. "It's not lost on me the magnitude of this honor."

Thompson will replace Craig Murphy, who led the agency in an acting capacity since January. He filled in after Mayor Cherelle L. Parker tapped Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel to be her managing director, the city's second in command. Thiel administered the oath of office to Thompson Monday. Thompson's wife, Crystal Shannon-Thompson, attached her husband's new rank insignia to his lapel.

Parker said she chose Thompson for the role because she was looking for a leader "willing to stretch and figure out how we grow." She also nodded to his Philly bona fides, saying he grew up in Germantown and graduated from Murrell Dobbins Career and Technical Education High School.

"[The Fire Department] will continue to provide dedicated service to those who live, work, and play in Philadelphia, responding to all types of emergencies at all hours of the day," Parker said. "Under his leadership, he will help us fulfill our pledge to make the public health and safety of Philadelphians our number one priority."

Mike Bresnan, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 22, appeared at the swearing-in ceremony alongside Thompson and said the new commissioner's reputation among the rank-and-file "could not be higher."

Bresnan said he and Thompson were in units that made up the North Philly Cowboys at the same time and that he'd "crawled a couple hallways with him."

"I know firsthand his bravery and his dedication to service," he said.


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