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.

Monday, October 27, 2008


On Oct. 19, 2008, flames swept five apartment buildings on Mill Street and Jersey Street in Paterson, leaving a number of families without shelter. said: ``The city’s full complement of firefighters, along with crews from about 15 surrounding municipalities, fought the flames.''

Photo: Fox 5

Monday, October 20, 2008



A Life: Sal Madama, 1911-2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sal Madama retired from firefighting in 1976. Or did he?

Well into his 90s, Mr. Madama showed fellow residents of St. Joseph's Home for the Elderly in Totowa how to use the extinguisher.

He spent Thursday evenings at local firehouses — "chewing the rag," as his wife, Mary Ann, put it, but also sharing his vast knowledge with far younger colleagues.

Once a fireman, always a fireman. And Mr. Madama, who died Tuesday at 97, had as legendary a career as any.

He joined his hometown Paterson Fire Department in 1939. He was 27, and adrift.

"I had no desire for nothing," Mr. Madama once recalled. "I took the fire test because my friend took it, and I came out 22nd."

Over the next 36 years, he held every position of consequence in the department, all the way up to chief. On his own, Mr. Madama — who had college degrees in public safety and public administration — conducted classes for small-town volunteer firefighters throughout North Jersey.

His mantras were "discipline" and "training."

"Discipline and training go hand in hand," he told volunteers in Denville, according to a 1967 story in the Paterson Morning Call. "Without discipline, line officers cannot carry out orders of the chief. It must be second nature to respond to orders."

As his career was winding down, Mr. Madama became the fire chief in Laconia, N.H. He retired after a year and returned to New Jersey, continuing to teach fire science at the community college level.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


On Nov. 11, 2006, a three-alarm fire swept a row of 14 homes on 16th Avenue in Paterson.


Paterson Ladder 3 at fire at city housing complex in May 2006

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Photo: Collection of Bruno Wendt 
Working fire at Sorrento Lounge in Paterson in December 1981