Eastpointe Deputy City Clerk Randy Altimus administers the oath to Kirk Lee during Lee’s promotion to lieutenant Jan. 11 at the Eastpointe Fire Department.

Eastpointe Deputy City Clerk Randy Altimus administers the oath to Kirk Lee during Lee’s promotion to lieutenant Jan. 11 at the Eastpointe Fire Department.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Eastpointe Fire Department promotes three firefighters

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 12, 2018

 Newly promoted Battalion Chief Scott Walsh poses with his son, Sean, 9, after the promotion ceremony Jan. 11.

Newly promoted Battalion Chief Scott Walsh poses with his son, Sean, 9, after the promotion ceremony Jan. 11.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Newly promoted Battalion Chief Scott Walsh poses with his son, Sean, 9, after the promotion ceremony Jan. 11.

Newly promoted Battalion Chief Scott Walsh poses with his son, Sean, 9, after the promotion ceremony Jan. 11.

Photo by Deb Jacques

EASTPOINTE — Promotions took place at the Eastpointe Fire Department at 10 a.m. Jan. 11, as three members of the department were promoted to sergeant, lieutenant and battalion chief rankings. 

“2017 has been our busiest year. We responded to over 5,000 calls last year from fires to medical and car accidents. We’ve experienced several 20-run days. Last night, we did 19 runs. One day in March last year, we responded to 55 calls in a 24-hour period,” said Lawrence Pokropowicz, Eastpointe fire battalion chief. 

During the ceremony, each firefighter took their oath one at a time, as administered by Eastpointe Deputy City Clerk Randy Altimus. The men received new badges — pinned on by their wives — and new helmets.

“Today we’re going to try a new tradition. We have a fire bell here, which is an iconic symbol in the fire service — it’s been used for hundreds of years — and it’s been in our department for 90 years. … Once the guys get sworn in and get their new helmet, then we’ll have each one of them ring the bell,” said Pokropowicz. 

The first to take the oath was Nick Sage, who was promoted to sergeant, which is the first officer rank in the department. 

Sage, an East Detroit High School graduate, began as an on-call firefighter in the department in 2001. He was hired full-time in 2003. 

After Sage took his oath, his wife, Janet, pinned his new badge on his uniform. 

Sgt. Kirk Lee, a graduate of Roseville High School, was promoted to lieutenant. Lee started as an on-call firefighter in 1994, and was promoted to sergeant in July 2017. In 2016, Kirk was the department’s firefighter of the year. Lee’s wife, Laura, pinned his badge on his uniform. 

The last firefighter to be promoted was Lt. Scott Walsh, who was promoted to battalion chief, the top ranking officer in the department. Prior to being in the department, Walsh served with the Detroit Fire Department Emergency Medical Services for almost 10 years. Walsh was hired as a full-time firefighter in 1997. In 2017, Walsh was Eastpointe’s firefighter of the year. Walsh’s wife, Marta, and his son, Sean, helped pin his new badge on his uniform and present him with his new helmet. 

Members of City Council and Eastpointe Mayor Suzanne Pixley were present during the ceremony. 

“The city and the residents are all proud of these three men, with their outstanding work for the department, and their work was rewarded today,” Pixley told the Eastsider

On Nov. 13, 2017, James Heinzman was added to the Eastpointe Fire Department and sworn in at Eastpointe City Hall. The department has 22 firefighters.