READY TO ROLL AT PATERSON RIVERSIDE STATION - PHOTO BY DR. THOMAS DAYSPRING

READY TO ROLL AT PATERSON RIVERSIDE STATION - PHOTO BY DR. THOMAS DAYSPRING

Saturday, October 20, 2012

HALEDON'S HORNS


Can't a guy get a good nap around here?

Your editor was born Feb. 13, 1958 at the Paterson General Hospital and spent the first 6 1/2 years of his life residing at his grandmother's home at 179 Lee Avenue, Haledon.

Within the my first 24 hours of crossing the threshold of that old house, the fire service was emblazoned upon my being:

Everyday at a noon the municipal fire horns would blare the signal 3-3-3.

Test. Test. Test.

Tell me that wouldn't startle a brand-spanking new Patersonian and soil a few diapers!

So much for my noon nap.

Almost 55 years later I suspect that may have been the start of my awareness and interest in fire engines, firefighters and fire alarm systems.

Over the years, I have accumulated a variety of fire service memorabilia -- including a list of Haledon's fire alarm signals.

The signals are reprinted herewith:

1 - Wire Trouble
2 - Fire Out
3 - Test
4 - Company 1 respond to firehouse
5 - Company 2 respond to firehouse
6 - General Alarm
7 - Fireman's Funeral Call
8 - Mutual Aid Cal
2-2-2 NO SCHOOL [Editor's note: My favorite!]
12 - Avenue B and Jasper Street
13 - Barbour Street and Lee Avenue [Editor's note: My Grandma Strobino's house!!]
14 - Belmont Avenue and Cook Street
15 - Belmont Avenue and Henry Street
16 - Lee Avenue and Legion Place
17 - Fire Co. No. 2
18 - Cliff and Oxford streets
21 - Clinton Street by the brook
23 - Belmont Avenue and Zabriske Street
24 - Barbour Street and Van Dyke Avenue
25 - Van Dyke Avenue and King Street
26 - Hobart Avenue and Tilt Street
27 - Norwood Street and Southside Avenue
28 - Central Avenue below Tilt Street
31 - Church Street, North of Brook
32 - Haledon Avenue and N. 16th Street
34 - Bernard and N. 12th Street
35 - Haledon Avenue and Kossuth Street
36 - Belmont Avenue and Kossuth Street
37 - North 15th and Post streets
38 - Cona Court
42 - Belmont and Buschmann avenues
43 - Former Columbia Silk Mills
45 - John Ryle Avenue and Willie Street
46 - Belmont Avenue and Beam Street
51 - Belmont Avenue and Church Street (Fire Co. No. 1)
52 - Kossuth Street School
53 - Allied Chemical Co. (Harmon Division)
61 - Pompton Road and West Haldeon Avenue
62 - Central and Stansfield avenues
63 - Sam Braen's Sons Quarry
64 - Central Avenue and Valley Road
65 - Valley View Sanatorium
67 - Pompton Road near Ailsa Avenue
112 - Preakness Avenue and Elm Street
113 - Aberdeen Court
115 - Manchester Regional High School
234 - ADT Alarm

ANGEL AT BOX 181

Photo: Paterson Retired Firefighters
 
Was "an angel" sending the alarm?

On Oct. 18, 1984, a general alarm fire killed 15 people at the Alexander Hamilton Hotel at 55 Church Street, Paterson, N.J. and injured many others.


However, firefighters were also credited with saving many lives at great risk to themselves.

Box 181 was transmitted at 12:14 a.m.


Louis Ponstingel, who was working the midnight to 8 a.m. shift as a Paterson fire dispatcher, shared the following recollection on the 28th anniversary of the blaze:
 
"The usual procedure is to look up the box number and address of the incident, the cross streets and the companies to respond," Ponstingel said.

"I for some reason pulled the whole card file and proceeded immediately to send the box."
 
Ponstingel's father, also named Louis, was the captain in charge of Engine 10 that night and "he and his men were credited with saving many lives," Ponstingel said.
 
"If anything there was an angel sending the box out expeditiously and, who knows, may have helped save someone," Ponstingel said by e-mail on Oct. 18, 2012.
 
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

When it opened in the 1920s, the Alexander Hamilton was the pride of Paterson - a fashionable hotel with affluent patrons and big-money investors.

The riots of the 1960s contributed to the decline of the city, including the hotel.

 

Friday, October 12, 2012

CITY OF PASSAIC

  

CITY OF PASSAIC FIRE DEPARTMENT
ROLL OF HONOR
 
Lieutenant James J. Delaney
April 15, 1911
Killed when the three-ton hose and chemical truck he was riding overturned on Passaic Street en route to a tenement fire. He died at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Deputy Chief John Doremus and firefighter Edmund Hutchinson
Dec. 20, 1955
Killed when the chief’s car they rode in collided with Truck Company 1 at Passaic and Main avenues. The accident prompted the department to upgrade its radio system and sirens.

Firefighter William Jackson
Feb. 17, 1960
Killed while fighting a blaze inside a building when a wall collapsed, pinning him against a fire truck.

Battalion Chief Joseph Griffin and firefighter Samuel Latona
March 12, 1970
Killed when a wall collapsed at 181 Third St. during one of the city’s most intense blazes. Several injured firefighters were pulled from the rubble.

Firefighter Alberto Tirado
May 9, 2001
Killed trying to rescue children he believed were trapped in an apartment building. He died of smoke inhalation.

Sources: Passaic Fire Department; Herald News archives.

HACKENSACK - 1988


U.S. Fire Administration

On July 1, 1988, a fire at the Ford Auto Dealership in Hackensack, New Jersey, took the lives of five firefighters when a bowstring truss roof collapsed.

Just a minute prior to the collapse the incident commander had instructed the firefighters working on the interior to “back your lines out.”

This message was not heard due to defective fireground communications equipment.

Debris from the subsequent roof collapse pinned three firefighters while two others escaped to an adjacent room.

These two firefighters radioed for assistance but neither the incident commander nor the fire alarm dispatcher picked up the calls for help.

By the time word was relayed to the incident commander from civilians picking up the calls for help on their scanners it was too late to effect a rescue.

___

Associated Press

HACKENSACK, N. J. - Five firemen killed when a burning roof collapsed onto them were like "family" in this city, which never had a firefighter die in the line of duty.

"There are only 100 of us in this department and this is just a small place," Fire Chief ANTHONY AIELLOS said Friday. "In a town like this these are your friends."

"It's a sad day in Hackensack," added Mayor FRED CERBO. "We've never had anything like this in our city before. To have five firemen die is just incredible."

The fire, which destroyed the building and contents of a car dealership, started shortly after 3 p.m. Friday in the rear service section of the building, AIELLOS said.

The ceiling collapsed as the firefighters, who were inside the building, were cutting a hole in it to get a hose on flames in a space between the ceiling and the roof, AIELLOS said.

"All of a sudden the entire 60-foot square inside ceiling fell on them," he said, adding that four other firefighters inside at the time escaped injury.

All of Hackensack's 100 firefighters as well as units from surrounding towns responded to the blaze, which was under control by 6:30 p.m.

Hundreds of bystanders watched along the busy intersection in this New York suburb of 40,000 people while the firefighters' bodies were placed in ambulances.

Many clutched friends when stretchers bearing the bodies came briefly into view.
The victims were Capt. RICHARD WILLIAMS, 54, Lt. RICHARD REINHOGEN, 48, and firefighters WILLIAM KREJSA, 52, LEONARD RADUMSKI, 38, and STEPHEN ENNIS, 30.

All five were from Hackensack.

___

Four other Hackensack firemen died in the line of duty over the years, all in roadway accidents responding to fire alarms:

·        Fireman Frederick Maas, Truck Co. 1, killed Feb. 6, 1919
·        Fireman Robert Paget, Truck Co. 1, died June 6, 1935 of injuries sustained in 1932
·        Captain Frederick Mathews and Fireman Andrew Lange, both of Engine Co. 5, killed March 23, 1953

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

BOX 638

 
 
Photos: Paterson Retired Firefighters Facebook page

On April 6, 1975, Paterson Fire Capt. Fred Armona was killed in the collapse of the Fourth Christian Reformed Church at Fourth Avenue and East 19th Street.

Box 638 was transmitted at 1:43 p.m. and escalated to a general alarm.

Armona, 56, and several other men were on a hose line when the walls of the wooden church fell outward, sending the roof plunging into the sanctuary.

The church was built in 1911 and the congregation relocated to a site in Wyckoff .

Fire departments from the neighboring communities of Haledon, Prospect Park and Hawthrone provided mutual aid.

Armona was assigned to Engine Company 11, which was located at 97 Grand Street.

On the same day, Paterson firefighters contended with a blaze at an abandoned dye house on River Street, according to a newspaper account.

Friday, August 24, 2012

RIOT DUTY - 1960s


Open cab modified for civil unrest; Paterson, N.J. Truck 1 was a 1962 Pirsch aerial ladder.


Race riots plagued the country in the 1960s. In August 1964, trouble erupted in Paterson "when a pack of carousing teen-agers in the slum Fourth Ward began pelting passing police cars with bottles and rocks," according to Time magazine. Soon hundreds were in the streets, "smashing windows and hurling debris at police," according to Time. The civil unrest continued through the 1960s.

PENNINGTON - 1953


Photo: Paterson Retired Firefighters Facebook
On Sept. 3, 1953, fire crews contended with a three-alarm blaze at 80 Pennington Street, Paterson, N.J. Box 156 was transmitted at 8:05 p.m. Photograph from Vince Marchese collection.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

LUMBER YARD - 1961


  Image: Paterson Retired Firefighters Facebook
Paterson News acccount of general alarm fire at Dillistin Lumber Co, 178 18th Ave., Paterson, N.J., on June 18, 1961, from collection of Vince Marchese. Box 427 was transmitted at 6:30 p.m. 

Photo: Paterson Retired Firefighters Facebook
Box 427 - June 18, 1961: General alarm at Dilliston Lumber Co., 178 18th Ave., Paterson, N.J. Firemen Ken West, Tony Gaita, Fred Armona (killed in 1975 church fire), Walt Mc Mahon, George Stanton, Jim Farrell and Ted Guerall in photo from Debra Burns collection.

Friday, August 10, 2012

FRANKLIN 'FINISHED'


On Oct. 21, 1963, an explosion leveled Franklin Finishing, a textile dye house at 178 Keen St. in Paterson, N.J. Box 656 was transmitted at 12:33 p.m. Ladder 3 was destroyed by the blaze. Newspaper image from Vince Marchese collection via Paterson Retired Firefighters Facebook Page. (Your editor was a kindergarten student in Haledon at the time and recalls learning about the explosion from his parents.) The inferno made the cover of Fire Engineering magazine.

Friday, January 20, 2012

GUARDIAN ANGEL

Photo: Paterson Retired Firefighters Facebook

Saved! Capt. Mario Colatarci and child in photo from Debra Burns collection.