The Philadelphia Fire Department began 2024 with a change in leadership after Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel stepped down to serve as the City’s Managing Director under new Mayor Cherelle L. Parker.

Mayor Parker named First Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy as Acting Fire Commissioner. Murphy has been with the PFD for nearly four decades and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position.

“When I joined the PFD 37 years ago, I didn’t plan on becoming the Fire Commissioner – I just wanted to be a good firefighter,” says Murphy. “But throughout my career, I never stopped training, I never stopped learning, and I never stopped looking out for my brothers and sisters in this department. And that’s not going to change with this transition.”

Murphy took over on January 1 for Thiel, who served as Fire Commissioner for eight years during Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration. Thiel said he was getting ready to step back and think through the next chapter in his 33-year career in fire safety, emergency management, safety leadership, and public service – when he got a call from Parker.

“When the Mayor-elect calls, you stop what you’re doing – and you listen. And what I heard intrigued me, and it made me – with humility and drive – want to take up this new challenge as Managing Director,” Thiel said. “I’m thrilled to be able to continue providing dedicated service 24x7x365, albeit in a different way from my role at the Fire Department. Together, we can make Philly a safer, cleaner and greener city, with economic opportunity for all.”

A search for a permanent Fire Commissioner will be conducted within the next several months as Murphy is set to retire later this year.

As First Deputy Fire Commissioner, Murphy oversaw all departmental operations, including fire suppression, technical rescue, hazardous materials, aviation operations, EMS, professional standards/diversity, equity & inclusion, and PFD special investigations.

Murphy joined the PFD with Class 159 in 1987. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2003, Captain in 2006, Battalion Chief in 2010 and Deputy Chief in 2014. He is a Task Force leader for Pennsylvania-Task Force 1, a federal urban search and rescue team, and has responded to disasters including the World Trade Center terrorist attack in 2001, Hurricane Katrina, and the Salvation Army thrift shop collapse in 2013.

Murphy received his bachelor’s degree in public safety from Neumann University in 2022 and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he is married with 2 daughters.

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