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, February 9, 2018



On May 7, 1934, Paterson firefighters John O'Neill of Engine 9 and Allen Saal of Truck 3 were fatally injured at a fire at the St. Bonaventure Lyceum and parish hall.

"Collapsing walls of the two and a half story brick structure caused all of the injuries," the Paterson Evening News reported. "When they fell they swept firemen from their ladders burying them and their companies on the ground under debris."

Eight other men were hurt, with ​John Murphy, the chief's driver, and John Colligan, a police patrolman, suffering serious injuries.

"Three ambulances, taxicabs and private automobiles carried the injured firemen to hospitals," the Evening News said.

O'Neill died May 8 at St. Joseph's Hospital from a fractured skull and internal injuries. Saal died May 9 at the Paterson General Hospital of internal injuries.

The fire at Box 413 - 
at Carlisle Avenue and Ramsey Street - went to three alarms.

Thursday, February 8, 2018


Jan. 22, 1938 blaze at Hotel Manhattan.
Major fires struck Paterson's Hotel Manhattan on three occasions, one of which resulted it the death of a firefighter.

On May 24, 1920, firefighters used life nets to catch guests leaping from the hotel after a blaze broke out in its laundry room.

Several people were injured, including Firefighter William Smith who ``suffered a severe laceration when he fell 50 feet from a ladder after he had carried a woman and a man to safety,'' according to The New York Times said.

Box 14 at 237-243 Market Street was struck at 2:50 a.m. and went to three alarms.

On March 31, 1931 and again on Jan. 22, 1938, the hotel was the scene of three-alarm  fires,  according to

At the 1931 blaze, David Johnstone, engineer of Engine 8, was uncoupling hose when a car plowed through fire lines and struck him down, according to the Paterson Evening News.

The driver, Anthony DeStefano, was charged with reckless driving and atrocious assault.

Johnstone died April 2 at the Paterson General Hospital.

Four other firefighters - Andrew Swords and Edward Heintzeman of Engine 6, Edward Christensen and John Hill of Engine 9 - were overcome by smoke at the 1931 fire, according to the Paterson Morning Call.