Fire Buffs promote the general welfare of the fire and rescue service and protect its heritage and history. Famous Fire Buffs through the years include New York Fire Surgeon Harry Archer, Boston Pops Conductor Arthur Fiedler, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and - legend has it - President George Washington.

Paterson Riverside Station - Photo by Dr. Thomas Dayspring

Monday, June 23, 2008



Photos: patersonfirehistory. com,
On Jan. 6, 1914, a three-alarm fire destroyed the Paterson Opera House, injuring several firefighters.

Box 52 at Main and Smith streets was struck at 1 a.m.

Flames were ``discovered burning briskly back of the stage,'' according to The New York Times.

``All available firefighting apparatus of Paterson was called out to fight the flames, which for a time threatened to wipe out an entire business block ... There was a panic among the Italians living in the neighboring tenements, and many were rescued scantily clad.''

The Opera House was considered a ``vanity house,'' according to the web site of the Passaic County Historical Society.

`` It was owned, supported, managed and patronized by the rising business and managerial classes of Paterson ... The theatre reviewer of the Daily Press concerned himself more with a description of the audience than with the presentation on stage.''

In 1916, a movie house - the United States Theatre - opened on the site.