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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


On July 2, 1910, Box
456 was transmitted for the Levy Silk Mill and Manhattan Ribbon at Bridge and River streets in Paterson. No serious injuries were reported. About 100 workers lost their jobs. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Photos:,, Rutgers University

The Hoboken piers fire of June 30, 1900 claimed at least 326 lives, destroyed three Trans-Atantic liners and 24 smaller craft and gutted warehouses and other shore-side structures.

The Saale, Bremen and Main of the North German Lloyd line were lost; the Kaiser Wilhelm de Gross was heavily damaged.

The fire started in bales of cotton on the wharf and spread to barrels of turpentine 
and oil, gaining in ferocity.

Flames overwhelmed the resources of the Hoboken Fire Department, which received  the initial alarm at about 4 p.m.

On the New York side of the river, Box 251 for West and Morton streets rang in at 4:09 p.m, according to an account on the website of FDNY Marine Company 1.

Fire boats assigned to the box saw 
"hell was pop­ping" across the river and steamed toward New Jersey.

"In less than fifteen minutes the flames covered an area of a quarter of a mile long, extending outward from the actual short line to the bulk-heads, from six hundred to one thousand feet away," according to an account published in newspapers across the country.

Many of the casualties were trapped on the ships.

Those below deck struggled "in vain to force their way through the small portholes, while the flames pressed relentlessly upon them,” The New York Times reported.

The Graphic newspaper reported: "Decks were strewn with the bodies of those who succumbed to the fierce heat, which speedily made iron an steel red hot."

The piers themselves "entirely disappeared, and in their place was a clearing of blackened tops of piles and a gnarled mass of iron beams, the framework of the tops of the sheds," the Brooklyn Eagle said.

The Hoboken Fire Department lost a hose wagon to the flames.

For full details, visit 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Photo and diagram
: Wikipedia

On July 9, 1937, fire engulfed the 20th Century Fox film storage facility in Little Ferry, New Jersey, resulting in the loss of most of the silent films produced by Fox Film Corporation before 1932.

On person died and two others were injured.

Investigators determined the fire was caused by the spontaneous combustion of nitrate film stored in inadequately ventilated vaults.

Firefighters from Little Ferry, Hawthorne, Ridgefield Park, River Edge and South Hackensack  manned 14 hose steams, bringing the blaze under control in three hours, according to Wikipedia.

Four homes and a garage also sustained damage.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


On Nov. 29, 1899, Paterson firefighters wielding axes freed passengers from wreck of the Buffalo Express at the Van Winkle Street rail crossing.

A local train bound for Hoboken sped through a signal and crashed into the express as it waited near the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad station - killing six people and injuring 21 others, The New York Times reported.

The local train shattered the rear day coach of the express and sent it telescoping into the next car.

A fire ensued.

"Within a few moments, police reserves , firemen and crowds of people  came to the rescue of those in the terrible tangle of wood and iron" and ripped "the fearful pile to pieces," according to a dispatch in the Sacramento Daily Union.

The fire was also extinguished.