AFD Receives A New Chief: Kudlak Retires, Laubach Promoted

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Chief LaubachMayor Ed Pawlowski recently announced that Fire Chief Bob Kudlak has decided to retire, and Deputy Chief of Operations Lee T. Laubach Jr. is being promoted to interim Fire Chief.

Kudlak will retire on February 2nd, and has served as interim Chief since January, 2014.

“In his six years at or near the top of this department as Deputy Chief of Operations and then as interim chief, Bob was an effective leader,” said Pawlowski. “He earned the respect of the men who fought alongside him and those who served under his command. The department will miss his direction.”

Kudlak joined the department in 1986. Throughout his career, he has received multiple promotions, and his success has been recognized by the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, U.S Congress, and the U.S Senate.

“It has been my honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Allentown for 28½ years as a firefighter and ultimately the department’s chief officer,” Kudlak said. “I thank Mayor Pawlowski for the opportunity to serve in an administrative capacity over the final quarter of my tenure. The men of this department are some of the most dedicated in the business and I wish them all a rewarding and safe career.”

“I have always been impressed by the dedication Chief Kudlak brought to the table in the daily fulfillment of his duties,” said Pawlowski. “He was the recipient of many awards and citations. They are extensive evidence of the commitment he made to the job.”

Kudlak became a second-generation fire fighter when he chose to follow in his father’s footsteps, after Robert Sr. retired in 1996 after serving the city of Allentown for 27 years.

Pawlowski also announced that Deputy Chief of Operations and Emergency Management Coordinator Lee T. Laubach Jr. would be promoted to Interim Chief. For the past year, Laubach has served as Deputy Chief, and is a 21-year veteran of the department.

Pawlowski said, “Lee has done an outstanding job as the Deputy Chief and as the city’s Emergency Management Coordinator. I know he will make an outstanding chief. He has the confidence of the administration, the fire department and the community.”

Laubach joined the department in 1993, receiving multiple promotions and achievements throughout his career with the department. He was promoted to Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention in September 2010, in addition to being named Fire Fighter of the year for the department that same year.