Fire Company History
South Bound Brook Fire Company
Incorporated March 28, 1902
The Founding Years:
In 1901, a huge fire broke out in a paint factory on the corner of Canal Road and Elizabeth Street. This event awoke the citizens of South Bound Brook for the the need of a volunteer Fire Department.
On March 28, 1902, at 8:00 p.m. a meeting to organize a volunteer Fire Company was held in the law office of Mr. Edward Fischer. Frank Wheeland was temporary Chairman. There were fourteen founding members who organized the South Bound Brook Fire Company. They were; Harry Brokaw (President), James Cowins (Secretary), Bertram Teeter (Treasurer), W.B. Koechlein (Foreman), Bismark Byer, Henry Cowins, Saul Karno, O.B. Matthews, Henry McIntosh, Henry Nusted, John Ord, Arthur Teeter, John Tharp and Harry Wells.
A request in May of 1902 to the Reformed Church for use of their bell as a fire alarm had been granted. Incorporation papers were filed in June 1902 at the Somerset County Clerks Office.
On October 23, 1903 an order for South Bound Brook's first fire apparatus was placed. This piece of apparatus was delivered on December 2, 1903 by the Rex Fire Extinguisher Company of New York for the price tag of $600.00. This sale was made possible by a donation of $50.00 by Joseph Dufour on the condition that the Fire Company would raise the remaining $550.00. The chemical apparatus was a stylish two wheeled cart accompanied by 100 feet of hose. It was pulled by hand a majority of the time, except when Harry Wells would hitch it to his horses.
Motorization and Modernization:
In 1910, a Jefferies motor truck was purchased and converted into a fire truck by Henry Warwick, a local blacksmith. Three years later, a building used by James Fisher as a blacksmith shop, was purchased and converted into a firehouse. This was located on the southwest corner of Clinton Street and Main Street next to the Reformed Church. After the purchase of the new firehouse, the Fire Company held annual carnivals in the rear of the property. Some events they had were tug-o-war between South Bound Brook's fire men and neighboring Fire departments, foot races and a five mile marathon starting in Somerville and ending back in town to end the ceremonies.
The first pumper engine the South Bound Brook Fire Department had purchased was a 1922 Waterous, which was paid for by the borough. From 1922 till 1944 only fire fighting equipment was purchased and that is when the beloved 1944 a Mack Pumper was bought. This piece of apparatus was in service up until 1970.
In 1953, a Chevrolet truck was purchased and converted into an emergency truck by the firemen. In 1959, the GAF Corporation donated a 1938 Mack hook and ladder fire truck to the Fire Department. The very next year in 1960 the borough purchased a new Maxim pumper.
Modern Day History:
1995 brought us the first of our active pieces of apparatus that we use today. It was a 1995 E-One Hurricane Quint with a 75' ladder. This vehicle was designed especially for South Bound Brook due to the short wheel base, low overall vehicle height and the reach of the aerial ladder. With monstrous ladders surrounding us in Franklin Township and across the river in Bound Brook, our "truck" fits the needs of our town perfectly. One year later the town purchased a 1996 E-One American Eagle pumper which is still our primary pumper.
In 2007, The South Bound Brook Fire Department made some more great advancements in the protection of our town. A Seagrave pumper with a rescue style body was purchased to round out our fleet of fire trucks. This firetruck is more then meets the eyes. Yes it can carry up to eight firefighters, hold up to 500 gallons of water, carry more then 2000 feet of hose and anything else you might need to put out a fire but what you wouldn't expect to find is what's inside. In the one compartment is a full set of extrication tools made by Halmatro with a full set of cribbing to compliment the tools. Then in the rear compartment is what the truck was ultimately designed around. There is an inflatable 7 person Avon Rescue Boat (ERB) with a 15 horsepower Mercury four stroke outboard motor.
December of 2011, we broke ground for the expansion of our building. This expansion opened up much needed needed space in the engine room. It also gave us an actual full functioning office where the officers can handle the day to day operations of running the department. This new space also has plenty of storage and a work/tool room.
Starting about 2015 the Fire Department has been working closely with the town council at getting many of our capital budget needs filled. Many of our members have had intensive training in water and ice rescue. Most of these members have been out fitted with cold weather rescue suits. Water/ice rescue tools have also been added to 55-102 to work along side the boat. Additional Halmatro extrication tools were added to our set. A Polaris Ranger 6X6 offroad vehicle with a Kimtek skid unit that holds 80 gallons of water for fire fighting as well as a stokes basket for patient transport is on order and should be ready for delivery soon. We are also getting specs together for a natural gas generator to run power to the fire house in times of emergencies during power outages.
This brings us to today. We have been serving proudly since 1902 and look forward to the many years to come. We thank everyone who has supported us through the many years. We would like to let them know we would not be here if it were not for them. THANK YOU.
We Break Ground for a New Home:
On November 15, 1958 plans for a new fire house on Edgewood Terrace (our current building), were drawn up and estimated to be approximately $60,000. The Fire Company was able to make this purchase possible; by having the land donated by the borough, proceeds from the sale of the old fire house, donations from local corporations, and by also taking out a mortgage. The Ruberoid Company, Johns Manville company, and the Jannosone Construction Company were some of the corporations who donated materials. Henry Schnitzphan donated and planted the shrubbery around the building. John Lenert, the chairman of the building committee, and other firemen handled jobs like the electric, heating and painting. The Ladies Auxiliary, who have been the Fire Company's side since 1926, donated the kitchen stove and venetian blinds for the windows.
In 1965, a 1956 Dodge service truck was purchased from the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company and converted into an emergency vehicle mainly used for working on the fire alarm system. In 1970 a Hahn pumper was purchased. This truck replaced the much loved 1944 Mack pumper. A few years later in 1975, the borough purchased a Chevrolet mini snorkel which served the dual purpose of a maintenance truck for the fire alarm system and an emergency vehicle for fighting fires on multiple floor dwellings.
The 80's and 90's brought many advancements:
The next piece of apparatus to be purchased was in 1981 when an Oren pumper with a walk through top pump panel was purchased by the borough. In 1983, fire alarm pagers were bought and issued to all active members. These were used in conjunction with the fire siren to notify the firefighters when there was a fire call. The next big advancement for the Fire Department was when personal turn-out gear was bought for each active firefighter in 1989. In 1990, the self contained breathing apparatus (S.C.B.A.) that had been used for many years was upgraded to the Scott 2.2 airpacks, and again in 1999, to the MSA airpacks that we currently use today.