Cape May Firefighter Employee of the Month Lt. Jeff Laag

Cape May Firefighter Employee of the Month

CAPE MAY, NJ – To recognize the hard-working personnel of the City of Cape May, Manager
Mike Voll launched a new city-wide recognition program to honor “employees of the month”. The
objective is to recognize employees who show exemplary individual achievement, contribution, and
job performance. These individuals consistently exhibit a positive and supportive attitude and
contribute beyond their usual employment expectations.

Peers can nominate each other, building a stronger comradery amongst the workforce. Management,
Department Heads and Supervisors are not eligible to be nominated, allowing recognition solely
focus on the hard-working City employees that make the City a success daily.

Under the authorization of the City Manager, the Employee of the Month Committee consists of
voluntary Supervisors from each Department who will review nominations and select the winner for
each month.

For June 2023, the Committee selected Lt. Jeff Laag from the Cape May Fire Department. In addition to
his everyday heroism and his recent rescue brought more reason for his nomination.

Dumpster Fire

On June 16th, Lt. Laag and his crew responded to a dumpster fire at 1236 Lafayette Street. They
discovered that the fire was caused by varnish and floor sealant that was discarded improperly, causing
the rags and cans to combust inside the trash bag. After extinguishment, Lt. Laag ordered the personnel
in the ambulance to retrieve the phone number for the contractor working on the home whose sign was
on the front lawn.
After responding to other calls for service and getting the report entered into the reporting system, Lt.
Laag reached out to the contractor. The contractor advised that they had been working on the second
floor of the building, and he knew they had the same combustibles discarded in bags on the second

The contractor stated he was responding but was too far away and asked if CMFD would return to the home, ensure everything was okay, and remove the bags. Lt. Laag and Firefighter Toler took the ambulance 51-1, which Lt. Laag instructed before boarding to get the pressurized water can out of the engine in case they had a smoldering fire or another harmful issue, just in case.

Preventing Catastrophe

Upon their arrival at 1236 Lafayette St., Lt. Laag and FF Toler entered the building without any alarms sounding visible fire or smoke showing. Upon turning into the stairwell to the second floor, FF Toler relayed to Lt. Laag
that he had smoke on the second floor, and when they advanced up the stairs, they had active fire rolling
across the ceiling above them. Lt. Laag utilized the pressurized water can to keep the fire in check while
the first alarm assignment was dispatched. FF. Toler grabbed an exterior garden hose to help keep the
fire in check as our engine arrived, and extinguishment was made by personnel.

Cape May Fire Chief Alex Coulter nominated Lt. Laag and said, “If it was not for the proactive actions of
Lt. Laag to contact the contractor and respond to the building, the outcome would have been
catastrophic. If we could nominate two personnel, I recommend that FF Alex Toler receive a
recommendation also.”

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1 Comment

  1. Dianne Wench
    July 27, 2023 / 2:24 pm

    Wow. Holy smokes!!!!This is an incredible story . Jeff Laag is a hero