St. Augustine Fire Department honors firefighters, formally appoints fire chief after hurricane delays


After long delays due to the effects of hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, several St. Augustine firefighters were finally sworn in and recognized for their accomplishments.

St. Augustine Fire Chief Carlos Aviles was sworn in by City Manager John Regan during a ceremony Dec. 27. Aviles was appointed fire chief in August following the retirement of Fire Chief JC Costeira, but was never officially sworn in because of the storms. 

Immediately following the swearing-in of the fire chief, Aviles performed his first official badge pinning and promotion ceremony with the swearing-in of three new firefighters – Ryan Costeira, Christopher Chester and AJ Jackson – and the promotions of Firefighter Zach Timmons to engineer, Engineer Brandon Seymour to lieutenant, and Lieutenant Pete Weiland to captain. Additionally, Captain Chris Pacetti was promoted to division chief of training, and Fire Marshal Bob Growick was promoted to division chief of fire prevention. 

To conclude the ceremony, Aviles presented Meritorious Service awards to Captain James “Jinx” von Bretzel and Pacetti for their actions and dedication to duty during Hurricane Matthew.