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.
Friday, November 13, 2015
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Towns as far away as Ramsey dispatched mutual aid.
"You deluge it with water, hope at some point the water overtakes the fire," Paterson Fire Chief Michael Postorino told NorthJersey.com
The armory was a Paterson landmark, made of red brick and and heavy timber.
Soldiers deployed for the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II from the armory, which was completed in 1896.
The armory also served as a community center and entertainment venue for concerts and boxing matches.
It was also the site of rallies during the 1913 textile workers strike.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
The first major fire extinguished by Paterson's paid fire department, successor to the city's volunteer brigades, broke out at 416 Main St. on April 17, 1890 and spread to an adjacent building, according to that day's edition of the Paterson Daily Press.
The alarm was transmitted at 2:45 p.m. from Box 83 at Slater and Marshall streets.
The newspaper said: "The flames made their way through the siding of the three-story story building at 414 an 412, and spread through the attic where the firemen kept it in check and extinguished the fire but not until the place was thoroughly saturated with water."
The original fire building was owned by Mrs. William Leonard. The adjoining building was owned by Jeremiah Rogers. Fire damaged a store occupied by William B. Allen, stationer.
The fire probably started in the chimney at 416 Main St. and damage was estimated at $500.
Police cordoned off the scene "under the recently passed ordinance establishing police lines," the Daily Press said in a followup story on April 18, 1890.
The newspaper also noted:
"There were some persons who are disposed to criticize the management of the blaze, and say that the firemen poured in more water than was needed, but persons on sidewalks viewing the fire from outside the police lines are not in a position to know."
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
On Jan. 11, 1917, flames and exploding munitions destroyed the Canadian Car and Foundry Company in Lyndhurst, New Jersey.
"In rapid succession the thirty-nine frame buildings, comprising the plant, were set ablaze and the explosions of the shells stored there could be heard for miles," according to a dispatch published in the Wisconsin State Journal.
Surrounding neighborhoods and businesses also sustained heavy damage. (Lyndhurst was then known as Kingsland, hence the name the "Kingsland Explosion.")
Remarkably, there were no fatalities.
According to the Lyndhurst Historical Society:
"Tessie McNamara, who operated the company switchboard, was credited with saving many lives.
"As the fire raged on, Tessie stayed at the switchboard.
"She plugged in each of the buildings and shouted the warning, `Get out or go up!'
"Escaping workers were able to cross the frozen Hackensack River or run up Valley Brook Avenue to safety."
The dispatch in the Wisconsin State Journal described the scene:
"The town of Kingsland and the surrounding country today bore every mark of having been thru a terrific bombardment.
"Some houses showed gaping holes, thru which the cold wind whistled.
"Roofs of others were perforated. Windows were out.
"The hard rock road near the big munitions plant was pitted with shell holes, anyone of which was big enough to bury a dog in.
"The Delaware and Lackawanna railroad tracks were torn up for a distance of two miles.
"Rails were twisted and ties blown out of place."
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
|Firefighter John A. Nicosia (1962-1991)|
"We're talking about a major disaster here."
That's how Paterson Mayor William J. Pascrell Jr. described the inferno that claimed the life of a city firefighter on Jan. 17, 1991 at 161 Main Street - the building that once housed Meyer Brothers department store.
The body of John A. Nicosia, 28, a member of Engine 4, was recovered two days later.
From the old department store, "the fire spread to a second building and there was a minor blow-out of windows and a large ball of fire," according to the U.S. Fire Administration. "There was a roll call and head count taken at this time and it was determined that Firefighter Nicosia was missing.
"Search and rescue procedures began immediately. The search continued for two days until Firefighter Nicosia's body was found in the basement of the initial structure."
Nicosia was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
The New York Times - Jan. 18, 1991
Fire Destroys 15 Paterson Stores; Firefighter Is Missing Amid Ruins
Thursday, February 26, 2015
|Elizabeth firemen at site of Dec. 16, 1951 crash of Miami Airlines flight that killed all 56 people aboard.|
|Jan. 22, 1952|
To the superstitious, things sometimes happen in threes.
The City of Elizabeth was the scene of three deadly commercial airline accidents from December 1951 to February 1952.
More than 100 people died.
The flights were flying into or out of Newark Airport.
On December 16, 1951 a Miami Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 56 passengers and crew.
On Jan. 22, 1952, American Airlines Flight 6780 met disaster, killing 30 people, including seven on the ground.
On Feb. 11, 1952, the crash of National Airlines Flight 101 claimed 33 lives, including four in the ground; 34 survived.
Following the third accident Newark Airport was closed until Nov. 5, 1952.
President Harry Truman appointed a board of inquiry, which led to the establishment of new flight rules for the airport.
Feb. 11, 1952 wire dispatch
Elizabeth, N. J. (United Press) -- A third airliner crashed into this city early today. It killed 30 persons and injured 42. Elizabeth's two-month death-from-the-sky toll, caused by falling airliners, stood at 116.
So grave were the implications that adjoining Newark Airport, one of the country's biggest and busiest, was shut down immediately "in the light of these tragic events and pending further investigation."
Today's disaster plane was a DC-6 four-engine giant owned by National Airlines. It smashed into a four story apartment house in which 60 families were sleeping, two minutes after its take-off from Newark bound for Miami.
Twenty-four passengers, three crewmen, and three residents of the building were killed.
Thirty-one passengers and nine residents were in hospital, some gravely injured.
In addition, five persons were missing and may prove to be dead. Several passengers and the pretty little stewardess, MISS NANCY TAYLOR, 22, were hardly injured.
The plane crashed two minutes after its take-off and was in trouble practically from the instant its wheels left the runway.
MISS TAYLOR said: "All of a sudden the engines sputtered and stopped and then we went down." A passenger said he saw the propellor of the far right engine turning in reverse.
The pilot WAYNE G. FOSTER, radioed the control tower: "Lost an engine. Coming back."
Other passengers were conscious in the seconds before disaster, of the pilot fighting to keep his plane in the air. Some said he got no higher that a few hundred feet and MISS TAYLOR said it was 1000 to 1500 feet. Then, suddenly, the heavy plane "dropped like a shot," as one passenger put it.
The plane wavered on, skimming roof-tops. It barely cleared the roof of an orphanage in which 60 children were sleeping, and smashed into a second apartment house, four and a-half blocks east of the first.
The flames were licking along the outside of the fuselage, fed from the wing gas tanks. The impact checked them long enough for surviving passengers to save themselves and to rescue some who were injured too severely to move. Passersby rushed into the wreckage and one of them rescued MISS TAYLOR who was hanging upside down from the safety belt which bound her to a "jump" seat.
Meanwhile, the top floor of the apartment house already was roaring with fire. The occupants of the apartment hit directly were killed -- IRVING ZAHLER, 29, his wife, MARYLIN, 27, and their four-year-old son, MONTE.
FOSTER and his co-pilot, C. E. SINCLAIR, were among the dead. The flight engineer, I. R. SHEA, was missing and presumed dead.
The weather had nothing to do with the crash. It was a clear night when FOSTER gunned his big ship down the runway and took off at 12:18 a.m.
On Jan. 22, a two-engine American Airlines Convair smashed into a row of houses while trying to land at Newark on the radar beam in foul weather, killing the 23 persons on board, including former Secretary of War ROBERT PATTERSON, and seven residents of the houses.
Thus Elizabeth's own death toll stood at 11 citizens snuffed out from the sky in less that two months and the wave of indignation which had followed the second crash, was bubbling angrily within minutes after this morning's disaster.
A Congressional sub-committee was to have held a public hearing in Elizabeth Court House this morning to hear Elizabethans argue that any airport operating in the center of a heavily populated area has to be a menace to residents and should be closed.
When the hearing was cancelled, the Port Authority called newspapers with instructions to "kill" the presentation. At the same time, it shut down the port.
Two hours after the crash, firemen extinguished the apartment house fire. The top floor was gutted and the injured and the dead came from its apartments. But the whole building had shaken from the impact. Windows had shattered, doors had burst open. And the residents of the lower floors raced pell-mell down the stairs into the street, lugging babies and pets.The fire in the plane wreckage burned itself out sooner. Police roped it off as "a disaster area," to preserve it untouched for investigators.
The investigators was under way quickly. JOSEPH O. FLUET- inspector of the Civil Aeronautics Board in the New York region, rushed to the Union County Courthouse and set up temporary headquarters in the offices of county Prosecutor EDWARD COHN. His first move was to impound all records of the plane and passengers.
Because the pilot jettisoned gasoline, indicating an emergency demand to lessen weight, FLUET revealed that the plane's manifest gave its take-off weight at 83,437 pounds. The maximum allowable take-off weight for a DC-6, FLUET said, is 86,150 pounds. The maximum permissible landing weight is 75,000 pounds, he added and pointed out that the gasoline consumed in a flight to Miami would have lowered the plane's weight well below the top limit.
Newark Airport is seven miles due west of the southern tip of Manhattan. Its take-off and landing glide paths lead directly over the New Jersey communities of Elizabeth, Newark, Linden, Union, Granford, Hillside, Roselle and Roselle Park.
On Jan. 31, Capt. EDDIE RICKENBACKER, president of Eastern Air Lines, said in a press conference called by the Air Transport Association that Newark was "a preferred airport" to pilots under any weather conditions. He said that in most pilots opinion "it is the best situated, the best equipped, and the safest airport in the entire country."
Ten pilots representing five airlines confirmed the statement. They said their personal choice in bad weather always would be Newark.
But figures and talk had little effect on the people of Elizabeth. Indignation, which had run in angry undercurrents through the city, after the first two crashes, boiled to the surface.
Angry neighbors gathered outside homes in the early morning hours.
"This is the last straw; how much more can we talk?" one man shouted.