Former Bayonne Fire Chief John C. Sheren passed away on July 31. He was 83 years old. Sheren served as Fire Chief from 1988 to 1994.
Mayor Mark A. Smith said, “On behalf of the City of Bayonne, I would like to extend my condolences to the family of Chief John C. Sheren. His family and mine knew each other from St. Henry’s Parish. The Smiths and the Sherens grew up together. Chief Sheren was an effective leader who provided outstanding management to the Bayonne Fire Department.”
Public Safety Director Jason O’Donnell said, “The Bayonne Fire Department was fortunate to have Chief Sheren as its leader. He continued the proud tradition of professionalism in the Fire Department. Our thoughts are with Chief Sheren’s family at this difficult time.”
Fire Chief Gregory Rogers said, “Chief Sheren was the seventh Chief of Department since our official formation back in 1906. He was truly a tribute to our department, and was responsible for several innovations in Bayonne. He was the first Chief to automate administrative procedures. He also introduced the rank of Battalion Chief to the Bayonne Fire Department. Chief Sheren, a true professional, advocated advanced education for firefighters, and continued to take courses himself as a senior officer. It was a pleasure to work under his leadership, and we shall never forget him.”
Sheren was born in Bayonne in 1930. He was educated at St. Andrew’s Grammar School and Bayonne High School. During the Korean War, the future chief served as a Staff Sergeant with the Third Infantry Division from 1951 to 1953. Sheren attended the U.S. Army Field Wire School at Fort Dix, and earned certification in electric wire communications. He also earned an Army certification in explosive ordnance reconnaissance. Sheren was wounded in action, and received the Purple Heart.
Following his wartime service, Sheren returned to Bayonne and worked as a warehouseman at the Bayonne Naval Depot, later called the Military Ocean Terminal, from 1953 until 1959. On December 7, 1959, he was appointed to the Bayonne Fire Department with the rank of Firefighter, and was assigned to Engine Company #6. Sheren was promoted to Captain in 1964, and served with Engine Company #3. He was promoted to Deputy Chief in 1970, and served eighteen years in that rank, working under Fire Chief John Brennan. As Deputy Chief, Sheren was in charge of Group I with responsibilities for management and firefighting.
During his years as a firefighter, Sheren pursued continuing education courses in hazardous materials response, emergency medical technician training, incident command, radiological monitoring, hazardous materials incident analysis, and arson detection and investigation. He studied at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and took courses sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and various departments of the State of New Jersey.
Sheren was a member of the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 5; the Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association, Local 11; the Bayonne Fire Superior Officers Association; the New Jersey State Fire Chiefs Association; and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. With FMBA Local 11, he served as Secretary of the Negotiations Committee and the By-Laws Committee.