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

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

POLICE HQ - 1980

UPDATE

   
Photos: Collection of Bruno Wendt
Top photo: Engine Co. 1's crew pumps foam. Deputy Chief William Comer, later Chief of Department, at center. BottomPaterson Fire Dept. Truck Co. 2 with aerial up, Squad Co. 1.

On Feb. 8, 1980, a general alarm fire gutted Paterson police headquarters at 111 Washington St.

Box 171 was transmitted at 4:25 p.m.

Crews poured foam into the basement to smother flames.

In addition to the usual hazards, the building housed ammunition and tear gas.

The next day's New York Times told the story concisely:

PATERSON, N.J., Feb. 9 - The Paterson Police Department, burned out of its ornate, turn-of-the-century headquarters in a four-hour, general-alarm fire last night, began salvaging smoke-damaged equipment today and setting up makeshift headquarters in a vacant junior high school about a half-mile away.

***

Move ahead 36 years:

In September 2016, a body was discovered in the building, which had remained vacant since the fire.

Officials said the person had been dead about a decade.