EDWARD VINCENT MICHALAK was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 21, 1913 to Kathryn M. and Vincent Michalak. He was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on July 15, 1942 and reported for duty the next day with one of the ladder companies.

Edward Michalak rose through the ranks of the Fire Department. He was promoted to Captain on June 15, 1951, to District Chief on February 16, 1959, to Deputy Chief on June 19, 1961, and finally to Chief of the Fire Department on July 1, 1965. 

Chief Michalak served as Chief of the Department for 13 years, retiring on pension on July 1, 1978. During his tenure he, the Fire Department, and the City of Camden faced many challenges, including the riots of 1967 and 1971, the Poet's Row catastrophe, and the problems associated with the declining tax base and revenue available to the city for the provision of services.

During his career with the Camden Fire Department Chief Michalak received a commendation for saving lives on December 13, 1945, a merit award on April 20, 1953, a public citation from then Commissioner of Public Safety E. George Aaron on July 8, 1955, and another public citation on January 31, 1961 for again saving lives.

Chief Michalak made his home at 1040 North 25th Street in Cramer Hill. The Chief passed away on May 19, 1994 and was buried with full departmental honors. 


Engine Company 3 and the 3rd Battalion in quarters, Broadway & Ferry Avenue, South Camden. 1956.

Left to right, standing: Chief Edgar Ellender, Fireman George Wade, Fireman Howard Lewis, Captain Edward Michalak; Kneeling: Fireman George Torgun, Fireman Dominick Dalanni, Fireman Henry Keubler.

In the staff office at Fire Headquarters (kneeling from left) Fireman Ernest Tartaglia, Fireman Howard Lewis, Fireman Harrison MacNeir; (standing from left) Captain Allen F. Hess Sr., Fireman Dominic Dalanni, Fireman Henry Keubler, Chief Harry Wagner, Fireman James Troutman, Chief Edward Michalak, Fireman James Smith, Chief Edward MacDowell, Fireman John Yates, and Fireman George Wade. - 1961

Camden Courier-Post * October 2, 1963

Pennsauken Fire Department - Robert Dukes - Edward V. Michalak
Col. Edwin Bedell - Edward MacDowell

Camden Courier-Post * October 2, 1963
Philip Farrow - Howard Doerschner - Edward V. Michalak - Col. Edwin Bedell - Edward MacDowell
Pennsauken Fire Department - Niagara Fire Company - John T. Plasket - Richard Davis - Haddon Heights Fire Company 

Director of Public Safety Edward Garrity presents
Chief of Department
Edward MacDowell with a municipal proclamation
Click on Image to Enlarge

Witnessing, from left: Fireman George Wade, Fireman Harrison MacNeir,
Fireman John Gaffney Sr., Fireman James Troutman, Fireman Ernest Tartaglia, Captain Allen Hess, Fireman John Yates, District Chief Harry Wagner (obscured), District Chief Edward Michalak, Fireman Dominick Dalanni, Fireman
Howard Lewis, Fireman Henry Keubler


From Left: Joseph Guarino - Edward V. Michalak 
Robert Dukes - Ervin Brennan


From Left: Joseph Guarino - Edward V. Michalak 
Robert Dukes - Ervin Brennan

A Change of Command on New Years Eve -
Retiring Chief of Department
Edward MacDowell greeting incoming Chief of Department Edward Michalak following the 0800 roll call on December 31, 1964

Camden Courier-Post * December 31, 1964

Camden Courier-Post * January 28, 1965

Edward V. Michalak - John J. Graw - Y.M.C.A.

Camden Courier-Post * 1965

Edward V. Michalak - Keith Kauffman - Engine Company 3

Camden Fire Department
First Annual Retirement Dinner
May 3, 1965
 William T. Cahill - Alfred R. Pierce - Edward V. Michalak
Keith Kauffman - Rev. W.A. Gwynne -
Edward R. MacDowell
Howard W. Ways
- George L. Boone - Isaac Muns - John C. Voll John T. Clemmens - Harrison B. Pike - Albert A. Weller
Austin E. Marks - Edward Y. Scott - John W. Yates

Click on Images to Enlarge

Camden Courier-Post

Keith Kauffman
Edward V. Michalak

George Baxter


Camden Courier-Post

Keith Kauffman
Edward V. Michalak

George Baxter

July 1, 1965- On the occasion of Edward Michalak's appointment to Chief of Department (seated from left) retiring Chief of Department Edward MacDowell, Chief Edward Michalak, Director Keith Kauffman; (standing from left) District Chiefs Frank Deal, Joseph Guarino, Robert Dukes, Anthony Saponare, Theodore Primas, Daniel Jiannetto, Fireman Erwin Brennan, Major William Gwynne of the Volunteers of America Fire Canteen. 


Camden Courier-Post * 1965

May 1966


Camden Fire Department - Newly Appointed Firefighters - November 10, 1967

Standing L to R: Robert De Ford - Jesse Flax Sr. - Captain Roy Taggart  - Chief Frank Deal - Chief of Department Edward V. Michalak - Robert "Sonny" Frett - Ferdinand Meloni
Walter Szatkowski - Don Harrison 
Sitting L to R: Ernest Newkirk -
John R. Cianfrani - August "Gus" Barbetta - Richard Prosser - Paul Delfing.

November 1968

 1969 - Receipt from
CFD Captain
Warren Carter

 March 3, 1971

Chief of Department Edward Michalak with Deputy Chief Anthony Saponare among the troops
after Fourth Alarm at North 2nd and Erie Streets, in North Camden - August 23, 1972

August 23, 1972 at the Poet's Row Fire
Chief Michalak in the first floor of house where three children were killed

November 23, 1977 - A Second alarm fire in an unlicensed boarding house took the lives of five senior citizens on  at 2939 Mitchell Street in East Camden. In this photo Chief Edward Michalak is seen exiting the house in the aftermanth of the fire.

From Left: Mayor Angelo Errichetti, 
Chief Edward V. Michalak
Camden Fire Department photographer Bob Bartosz

A contingent of officer and members attend the funeral of retired Chief of Department Edward Michalak at Saint Anthony of Padua R.C. Church, 1994

Members of the department render salute as Pallbearer Detail of six Chief Officers carry the remains of Chief Edward Michalak to his final resting place at Arlington Cemetery in Pennsauken, New Jersey. In fromation at far end of the column is Chief of Department Kenneth Penn and former Chief of Department John J. Mogck Jr.