County Fire Station 13-1
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Fire Company Organization |
Fire Department Officers
The Fair Haven Volunteer Fire
Company No. 1 is organized into five specialized units, all operating
under one command structure. First and foremost of these organizations
is the Fire Department itself, which responds to fires and other
emergencies in Fair Haven. The Department and First Aid Squad also
have mutual aid agreements with all of the surrounding boroughs,
by which additional equipment and manpower can be provided for or
accepted from other nearby fire and first aid units.
The Line Officers:
Chief: Tim Morrissey
Deputy Chief: Matt DePonti
1st Assistant Chief: Christopher Schrank
2nd Assistant Chief: Matthew Bufano
The Fire Department's Executive
Officers serve both as administrative officers for
the Department and the overall Fire Company.
President - John W. Felsmann
Vice President - Jim Cerruti
Recording Secretary - Raquel Falotico
Assistant Secretary - Gene Stefanelli
Financial Secretary - Pat Corbett
Assistant Financial Secretary - Tricia Brett
Treasurer - Andrew Schrank
Trustees - Robert Frank, Hal Trenton,
Fire Department Executive Board
Standing, Matt DePonti, Christopher Schrank, Tim Morrissey, Matthew Bufano, Pat Corbett, Paul Lenskold, Robert Frank, Gene Stefanelli, John P. Felsmann Sr. – Sitting, Tricia Brett, Andrew Schrank, Jim Cerruti, John W. Felsmann, Raquel Falotico, Hal Trenton
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History of the Fair Haven
Around 1900, the permanent population
of Fair Haven and its surrounding area was about 1,000 persons.
Naturally, fire always was a concern of rural areas and Fair Haven
was no exception. Fire insurance was not carried by some residents
and businessmen. A disastrous fire could literally wipe out an entire
life's investment and leave the victim ruined. It could be possible
that a great fire involving several structures in the village could
ruin the community itself. An effective fire fighting organization
was what was needed if losses were to be kept to a minimum.
About ten years prior to the formation
of a fire company in Fair Haven, a local Black man, William Henry
Lyons, Jr., had organized a bucket brigade which included the following
members: William Brown, Edward Hicks, Joseph Hicks, Frank Johnson,
Herbert Johnson, and Joseph Johnson. Also C. Frederick Lyons and
Mr. Woodson were part of this group who were volunteers without
pay and provided their own pails. One of the fires which this group
responded to was at the cigar factory of E. H. Wilber, known to
residents as the "Eel Pot". This fire occurred about 1895,
and the "Eel Pot" was saved by the bucket brigade's work.
Another fire in the village had brigaders hastening the occupants
of the burning dwelling out of the house before they could attempt
to extinguish the flames. Little is known about the above brigade
other than what is related here.
Fire protection by means of a
bucket brigade was outmoded at the turn of the twentieth century.
The people of Fair Haven talked
about the formation of a fire department for some time, and finally
concentrated their efforts toward fire protection. The neighboring
village of Oceanic and the town of Red Bank already had fire protection,
but other parts of the township including Little Silver, East Oceanic
(Rumson), and Fair Haven did not. East Side Park came under the
protection of Red Bank and eventually Red Bank serviced a part of
that area with the Red Bank water system.
While the talk on fire protection
continued, so did numerous fires. On November 23, 1902, the stillness
of an autumn Sunday night was broken by the ringing of the school
bell, which was used as a fire alarm. The fire was in the kitchen
of Josephine Hendrickson's house. A large crowd was attracted to
the blaze which burned the dwelling and its contents to a total
loss, and no insurance was carried by the unfortunate owner.
The following afternoon,
sparks from a chimney set the roof of James Van Brunt's home ablaze.
A few men were nearby, the women summoned help, and the fire was
subsequently extinguished before much damage was done. Later that
evening, Daniel Lee's roof also caught fire, supposedly from sparks
emitting from a steam roller in use on River Rd. Again this blaze
was put out before much harm was done, but three fires in a twenty-four
hour period was too much.
The fire situation had not improved
during the following months and on Saturday night, May 2, 1903,
another potential disaster struck the home of L. B. Battin. With
the family assisting, William Bennett and Raymond Doughty saved
the dwelling. During the blaze, it seemed for a time that the house
would be lost but fortunately only the roof was severely damaged.
The above patterns of fires in
Fair Haven continued for awhile longer before decisive action was
taken. In January, 1904, at East Side Park, the potential loss from
an overturned oil lamp was averted by the quick response and work
by four men who were neighbors of the homeowner. A house on Haggers
Lane was a total loss despite use of a bucket brigade and hand-pumping
which caused three wells to go dry.
The people of Fair Haven now
finally realized that a fire company must be formed. In February,
1904 some of the leading townsmen of Fair Haven set the date of
Wednesday evening, March 9, 1904 for a public meeting on the subject
of fire protection and formation of a fire company. This meeting
in the hall of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics on
Pearl Street (now Fair Haven Rd.) was set for 8 P.M. Notice of the
meeting was signed by the following: George W. Smith, J. R. Scott,
A. E. Smith, R. D. Chandler, Elwood Smith, Harry Dennis, J. J. Hendrickson,
H. J. Schneider, Stanley Fielder, C. D. Chandler, John W. Fielder,
John L. Bennett, R. S. Merritt, E. H. Wilber, W. H. Bennett, F.
R. Smith, G. H. Minton and Frank Mulvihill.
Eight of the above signers and
eight other members were later listed as incorporators when the
company was incorporated on June 1. The result of that March 9 meeting
produced a volunteer unit that was called the Fair Haven Volunteer
Fire Company. By March 30 the initial phase of organizing was completed,
with about fifty names on the roll. The charter membership list
was closed that night, and as the initiation fee was one dollar
to charter members, it can be assumed that the company started its
long career with about $50.00 in its coffers.
On Wednesday evening, June 1,
1904, almost three months after it was formed, the Fair Haven Volunteer
Fire Company was issued the Certificate of Incorporation drafted
by Edward W. Wise, a Commissioner of Deeds for New Jersey.
The new organization was quick
to proceed with plans for the first priorities, such as fire house,
equipment, funds to defray the expenditures, and membership. Frank
Mulvihill, a plumber by trade, was selected as the first Fire Chief.
He had been a signer of the original petition that called for the
March 9 meeting, as well as later becoming one of the sixteen incorporators.
Frank Mulvihill, whose term as chief lasted until July, 1907, started
a family tradition as subsequently his brother, John, and nephew
John Mulvihill, Jr., and his great nephew Jack Mulvihill, became
chiefs in 1920, 1955, and 1989, respectively.
Little details about the actual
offices and committees that were formed in the early years have
been passed down to us. Quite certain the meetings were conducted
by a presiding officer. Officers were to be elected at the March
30, 1904 meeting at which time it was also decided that an annual
meeting should be held in July. At the first annual meeting in July,
1904, all of the officers were continued in office. Committees mentioned
in those formative months of 1904 included subscriptions (seeking
fund for equipment), whose report at the Monday, May 2, meeting
stated that nearly $400 had been pledged towards the needed apparatus.
Other committees were designated to plan the company's first ball
that May, select the fire equipment, and make plans for building
the new fire house.
Records indicate during the year
of 1920 the fire company opened their roster to include "social
membership". These men were over the acceptable age limit of
active firemen. However, they perform such duties as serving on
committees, hold office other than line office and serve as first
aid or fire policemen. They have proven to be a valuable asset to
the fire company.
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