History of The Carlstadt Fire Department
Carlstadt Fire Department was organized under the authority of an act of the
Legislature of the State of New Jersey, passed in March 1872.
Originally the Department was under the control of the Board of Fire
Commissioners. The Board
consisted of the Chief of the Fire Department, three commissioners, and three
members of the department. Elected by the members of the Fire Department, each held
office for three-year terms.
on August 1, 1872, this Board continued to serve until Carlstadt was
incorporated as a borough in 1894. At
the time of the organization, Carlstadt was an incorporated village in the
Township of Lodi. The officers
were Joseph Fortenbach as Chief Engineer, and John Dechert as Assistant
department consisted of Friendship Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 which
organized in February 1872, Bergen Hose Company No. 1 which organized in
August 1872, and Carlstadt Engine Company No. 1 which organized in September
1872. The Engine Company was
equipped with a hand pump; the Hose Company had a hand drawn hook and ladder
with a tiller in the rear.
territory served by the department was known as the Fire District of Lodi
Township. It consisted of the
northern section of Union Township (now known as Rutherford), all of Boiling
Springs (now East Rutherford), East Passaic (now Wallington), Carlstadt,
Wood-Ridge, and the southern part of Corona (now Hasbrouck Heights).
What today is known as Berkshire Road in Hasbrouck Heights was the
northern boundary line. Later the district was changed to exclude the section of
1879 the Carlstadt Fire Relief Association was organized.
The charter members were William Clapp, President; Joseph Hermann,
Vice-President; John Dechert, Secretary; and George Klug, Sr., Treasurer.
Additional members, selected from the Fire Department, were known as
Delegates and Trustees of the Relief Association.
1890 an amendment was adopted which created an additional fire company.
This was Hook and Ladder Company No. 2, and it was located in the
Wood-Ridge section of the district. After
the formation of the Borough of Carlstadt in 1894, it was reorganized as the
Wood-Ridge Fire Department on July 9, 1897.
the creation of the Borough of Carlstadt, the Fire Districts were abolished.
The Commissioners conveyed all properties previously owned by the
Department to the Borough. Releases were signed by East Rutherford, Hasbrouck Heights,
Wallington, and Wood-Ridge, relieving the Carlstadt Fire Department of the
responsibility for fire protection in those areas.
first fire headquarters was completed in August of 1873.
It was located on Madison Street between Broad Street and Hoboken Road.
It was destroyed by fire on April 22, 1881.
Also destroyed with the building were a hand pump, engine and hose
carriage, as well as 200 feet of leather hose.
Fortunately the hook and ladder truck was saved.
The insurance settled in the amount of $1,425.00.
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With the payment of $350.00, a used pumping engine was purchased from
the New York Fire Engine Company and a horse cart was purchased from the
Heywood Company for the same amount. Leather
hose was purchased to replace the lengths lost in the fire.
That same year the first rubber hose was purchased.
During the following September, the first two rubber coats for the pipe
men were purchased. The newly
acquired hand pumper was put into service on June 3, 1881 and removed from
duty in 1920.
the tragic loss of the original firehouse, the Board of Commissioners decided
that a more central location would be desirable. Accordingly, two lots of Friedrich Strasse (now Third Street)
were purchased on June 18, 1881 for the sum of $450.00.
The contract for the construction of a two story brick building was
awarded on August 20, 1881, at a cost of $2,790.00.
It was completed and occupied on February 18, 1882.
Shortly after the completion of the building, an addition was
constructed in 1884 that served for many years as the Borough Hall.
bell of the Evangelische Kirche, now the Presbyterian Church, was the first
fire alarm. The church, which
offered the use of it, provided the Chief with the keys to the church building
for ready access in an emergency. At
a meeting held on February 20, 1875, the Board of Commissioners accepted this
generous offer. A bell was also
placed atop the Firehouse on Third Street and it remained in use until 1920
when the Gamewell Alarm System, an air horn was installed. The bell that is currently used as a monument outside the
Jefferson Street Firehouse was taken from a tower that resided on Lincoln
Street near Central Avenue after it was removed from the Third Street
firehouse. This bell was
purchased from the Nutley Fire Department.
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Another bell tower was erected to serve the members of the department
that lived on the east side of town. This
bell was purchased from the Union City Fire Department and was located behind
the firehouse on Washington Avenue. This
bell now forms the central part of the fire memorial monument in Memorial Park
on Hackensack Street and Division Avenue.
Starting in 1962 firefighters began using plectron radio units as a
supplement to the use of air horns for notification of alarms.
opening years of the Twentieth Century saw the formation of several new fire
companies. In May 1904, Hose
Company 2 was organized. Hose
Company No. 3 was organized at a meeting held in January 1907 at Mueller's
Casino on Seventh Street. A shed
on the Wagner property on Sixth Street near Division Avenue housed their
equipment. It consisted of a
horse drawn hose carriage and a thousand feet of hose.
Later in 1919 the Borough authorized the building of a new firehouse
facing Division Avenue on Sixth Street.
those days Berry Lane, Hoboken Road and Center Street, were the only ways to
drive the apparatus below the hill. Hose
Company No. 3 was housed in this new brick building.
It was restored in 1994 and is currently utilized by the Carlstadt
Historical Society and Recreation Commission as a youth center.
fire company was formed in the far eastern part of Carlstadt and East
Rutherford. The company was
housed in part of the carriage shed of the Leive Halfway House Casino that was
located on the corner of Washington Avenue and Paterson Plank Road.
Originally the membership consisted of residents of Carlstadt and East
Rutherford, but with a reorganization in 1913, East Rutherford members were no
longer eligible. The newly formed company, Hose Company No 4, was incorporated
as a unit of the Carlstadt Fire Department.
1918, Bergen Hose Company No. 1 purchased a Steams automobile chassis from Sam
Dressler of Rutherford. This was
dismantled, reassembled, and put into operating condition.
Charles Kaiser built and mounted a hose compartment body on this
chassis. His brother Henry was a
member of the department. Following
a demonstration before the Mayor and Council, it was purchased.
Previously the apparatus of the Friendship Hook and Ladder Company No.
1 had been equipped with a White tractor.
This was the first motorized apparatus in the Fire Department.
Fire Department was reorganized in 1920.
Bergen Hose Company No. 1 and Engine Company No. 1 were consolidated
and named Bergen Engine Company No. 1. It
was equipped with a modern 750-gallon pumper.
Hose Companies 2 and 3 were consolidated under the name of Chemical
Hose Company No 1 and was equipped with a modern motor apparatus.
Hose Company No 4 was reorganized as Chemical Hose Company 2.
The Friendship Hook & Ladder Company No. 1 continued without
1920 the Carlstadt Fire Department was host to the New Jersey and New York
Volunteer Fire Association Convention and Parade. All Companies of the Fire Department were members of the
Association. Later that year the
Mayor and Council decided to consolidate the Fire Department and house all the
apparatus in the firehouse on Third Street.
The only exception was Chemical Hose Company 2 that remained housed on
July 24, 1932, a group of firemen decided to organize an Emergency Squad, a
volunteer group to administer first aid in any emergency.
Having accumulated a sum of money through solicitation, the Squad
purchased an inhalator (a breathing apparatus).
This first piece of equipment was stored in the Fire Headquarters on
Third Street. Whenever needed, it
was transported by the private automobile of a member of the Squad.
The first instructor was Jacob Goldschwer.
With money partly through a second solicitation and partly through an
appropriation made by the Mayor and Council, the first emergency apparatus was
purchased in 1936. Five years
later an ambulance was purchased. About
this time, Everett Shorter, a member of the Squad, helped the Wood-Ridge squad
get its start.
1940 the Ladies Auxiliary of the Carlstadt Fire Department was organized.
And for the second time, the New Jersey and New York Volunteer
Firemen's Association Convention and Parade was held in Carlstadt.
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1948 a Seagrave pumper was purchased for use by Bergen Engine Company No. 1.
Their 1920 Seagrave pumper was turned over to Chemical Hose Company No.
1, since their apparatus had been declared obsolete and unfit for service.
Department underwent another reorganization in 1951. Bergen Engine Company No. 1 and Friendship Hook and Ladder
Company No. 1 remained, but Chemical Hose Company No. 1 was reorganized as
Engine Company No. 2 and Chemical Hose Company No. 2 became Engine Company No.
3. There have not been any
further changes since then.
1962 the Emergency Squad received a new emergency truck and about 2 years
later put in service a Cadillac ambulance.
Around 1963 a thousand gallon Mack pumper was ordered to replace the
1948 Seagrave pumper used by Bergen Engine Co. No. 1.
office of the President of the Department was created in 1968.
This position was to be elected annually.
Harry Hess was elected the first president.
During the following year, a modem firefighting apparatus was purchased
for Hook and Ladder Company No. 1. This
was a 75-foot snorkel (boom type) apparatus mounted on a Mack Diesel Engine
chassis. Replacing the 1954 Maxim
truck, it was immediately put in full service.
Retirement Plan was adopted in 1969 permitting the volunteer firemen to retire
at age 65. It also permits
retirement after 25 years of service.
1970 a used police car was put into running condition by men of the department
to be used by the Chief. In 1972
the first new Chief's vehicle was purchased.
In 1971 Engine Company No. 2 received a new R-Model Mack with
a 1250-gallon per minute pump and diesel engine that replaced a 1952 Mack with
a 750-gallon per minute pump. The
R-Model Mack is still utilized as a reserve engine.
November 1971, for the first time, there were three assistant chiefs.
These offices were created at the regular election held at that time.
Also in 1971, the Emergency Squad purchased the Department's first
1973, the Carlstadt Ambulance Corps was formed and the Emergency Squad stopped
responding to medical emergencies. The
Emergency Squad continues to this date and performs search and rescue
responsibilities. In addition, it
also serves as a communications and command vehicle. In 1980 the Emergency Squad put in service a 1980 Mack.
With it came the "Jaws of Life" known for its ability to
assist victims trapped in severely damaged vehicles.
Carlstadt Fire Department has always been a leader in firefighter safety.
The air bottles used by firefighters are known as Self-Contained
Breathing Apparatus, or SCBA. Carlstadt had been using SCBA since the 1950's, more than 20
years before they were mandated.
few original SCBA units were replaced in 1983 with modern positive pressure
units, and a full compliment of them were purchased to safely equip the
Department. Around 1983 the
Department adopted new turn out gear, which included the use of
"bunker" pants and short coats, and hoods to be worn under the
helmet. This protective equipment
was not common at all during this period and it was more than 10 years before
the New York City Fire Department adopted use of the pants.
In 1983, Engine Company No. 3 received a 1500 GPM Mack pumper with a
750-gallon water tank. |
Since 1991, members are now provided their own Personal Alert Safety
System (PASS) device. This is a
device that sounds a loud alarm to notify other firefighters that a
firefighter is in trouble or has been exposed to an unsafe amount of heat.
Since 1996, each member is provided with their own personal mask used
with breathing apparatus that is specifically fitted to their face.
An explosion at the Arsynco Chemical plant on 13th Street in
1991 received world media attention.
for the current apparatus, in 1981 Bergen Engine Company No. 1 received a 1500
gallon per minute GPM) Grumman/Duplex pumper.
This apparatus was restored in 1989 and again in 1991.
In 1990 the Emergency Squad put in service a 17-foot Boston
Whaler boat. In 1992, Engine
Company No. 2 received a 2,000 GPM Pierce pumper.
1993, John Brentzel from Engine Company No. 3 drove the engine to an alarm of
fire and suffered a fatal heart attack while on the scene.
His death marks the only in-service fatality ever suffered by the
1993, the Carlstadt Emergency Squad was requested by the New York City Fire
Department to respond to the terrorist bombing at the World Trade Center.
1995 Bergen Engine Company No. 1 responded to the fire at NAP Chemical in
Lodi. A water relay using well
over a mile of hose was established at that fire.
In 1995, the Department put in service a new GMC Suburban Chief's vehicle. |
In 1997, the Friendship
Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1 received a Schwing 115-foot articulating boom with a
HME 10 man enclosed cab and Marion body.
This unique apparatus is the first of it's kind in the United States
for a municipal fire department.
Emergency Squad has placed in service a new 2000 Rescue 1 vehicle with a
Spartan Gladiator cab, communications center, and a state-of-the-art Amkus
rescue tools. |
general, the Department responds to approximately 300 calls per year.
This includes commercial and residential alarms of fire, motor vehicle
fires and entrapments, brush fires, floods, and boat calls.
The Carlstadt Fire Department is part of the South Bergen Mutual Aid
Association. This organization
consists of the Fire Departments of 17 communities in southern Bergen County.
We readily, and often, assist our neighboring communities as requested.
an annual basis the Department conducts a fundraiser in the form of a calendar
drive. Our volunteer department
is very appreciative of the generosity of the people of our community and is
proud to serve them. We remain
ready, willing and able to respond at a moment's notice.
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Carlstadt's Bravest - Memorial Day 2007
© 1997-2012 Carlstadt Fire Department. All Rights Reserved.
Design & Maintenance by FF. Shawn P. Cosgrove