February 27, 2019
Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro today appointed John Sudnik as Chief of Department, the highest-ranking uniformed position in the FDNY, and Thomas J. Richardson as Chief of Fire Operations, the second highest-ranking uniformed position in the FDNY.
“In running the Department’s Bureau of Fire Operations for the past four years, Chief Sudnik has demonstrated strong, exceptional leadership for all of our Firefighters and Fire Officers – supervising their efforts at major emergencies throughout the city. Overseeing our Bureau of Training, Chief Richardson has been responsible for ensuring our Firefighters and EMS personnel are trained to the highest standards and prepared to save the lives of New Yorkers on day one,” said Fire Commissioner Nigro. “I am confident they will work hard to further improve our Fire and EMS operations, while ensuring the safety of the brave men and women under their command who selflessly serve our city.”
“I’m honored to have been selected by Commissioner Nigro to serve as Chief of Department, and I’ll do my very best to protect the people of our city and the men and women who bravely serve our citizens,” said Chief Sudnik. “Our uniformed personnel are amazingly dedicated and I will do all I can to support them and the mission of service they provide to the many millions of New Yorkers who live, work and visit our great city.”
“Leading the Bureau of Fire Operations is truly the honor of a lifetime,” said Chief Richardson. “I look forward to working closely with the leadership of every bureau to ensure the safety of our members, and the people we are all sworn to protect.”
About Chief of Department John Sudnik
Chief Sudnik is a 33-year veteran who has served as the Chief of Fire Operations since 2014. He will oversee the Department’s 16,000 uniformed Firefighters and EMS personnel and four major agency Bureaus: Fire Operations, EMS Operations, Training and Fire Prevention. Chief Sudnik’s appointment is effective immediately. He succeeds former Chief of Department James E. Leonard, who retired after 39 years of service.
As Chief of Fire Operations, Chief Sudnik has overseen the day-to-day work of more than 11,000 Firefighters and fire officers, as well as dozens of high-ranking staff chiefs, deputy and battalion chiefs who last year responded to more than 600,000 emergency incidents – the most ever recorded. He also oversaw the Department’s highly trained special units including Hazardous Materials, Marine Division, Rescue Operations and Specialized Operations Command. Prior to serving as Chief of Fire Operations, he served as Manhattan Borough Commander from 2012 to 2014 and Queens Borough Commander from 2008 to 2012, where he oversaw fire operations in those respective boroughs.
Chief Sudnik joined the FDNY in 1985, and his first assignment was at Engine Company 23 in midtown Manhattan. He worked there until his promotion to lieutenant in 1994, when he was transferred to Brooklyn and assigned to Engine Company 235 in Bedford Stuyvesant. Three years later, he was promoted to Captain and worked in the 15th Division, later becoming the officer in charge of Engine Company 290 in East New York.
On September 11, Sudnik responded to the World Trade Center from FDNY headquarters, where he had been temporarily assigned, along with then-Chief of Operations Daniel Nigro and then-Chief of Department Peter Ganci, who died in the collapse of the North Tower. Five days later, Sudnik was promoted to Battalion Chief in a “battlefield” promotion ceremony of 170 fire officers following the deaths of 343 Department members.
Chief Sudnik is a 2006 graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School – Center for Homeland Defense and Security, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Homeland Security. He received his undergraduate degree in business at Baruch College. He has also attended both the FDNY’s Advanced Leadership Course (2010) and the Officers Management Institute (2007).
About Chief of Operations Thomas J. Richardson
Chief Richardson is a 38-year veteran who has served as the Chief of Training since 2017. As Chief of Fire Operations, Chief Richardson will oversee the day-to-day work of more than 11,000 Firefighters, Fire Officers and Chiefs. He will also oversee the Department’s highly trained special units, including the Special Operations Command, where worked for 7 years as a Firefighter, Fire Officer and Chief.
Chief Richardson joined the FDNY in 1980. His first assignment was at Engine Company 227 in Brooklyn, and he later worked at Ladder Company 102 and Rescue Company 2, also in Brooklyn. In 1990, he was promoted to Lieutenant and worked in Battalion 16 in Harlem for a year before returning to Brooklyn when he was assigned to Engine Company 235 in Bedford Stuyvesant. He was promoted again in 1994 and served as the Captain of Engine Company 234 in Crown Heights and later of Squad Company 270 in Queens. In September of 2000, he was promoted to Battalion Chief.
Six times in his career, he has been cited for bravery, including for the rescue of a 15-year-old boy from a fire in Brooklyn on January 10, 1989. At that incident, Firefighter Richardson was lowered by his lifesaving rope from the roof of a three-story brownstone on Monroe Street and rescued the teenager who was trapped by a fire. He was awarded the Dr. Albert A. Cinelli Medal for his heroic actions.
Chief Richardson is a 2010 graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School – Center for Homeland Defense and Security, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Security Studies. He received his undergraduate degree at SUNY Empire State College. He has also attended both the FDNY’s Advanced Leadership Course (2015), the Officers Management Institute (2009), and the Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point in 2006.
For photos from the event: click here.