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.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


Photos: Fire Engineering

Four major fires struck the City of Passaic in the spring of 1951.

On April 19, a general alarm blaze gutted the roof and top floor of the five-story Tudor Court Apartment House, damaging or destroying almost 100 apartments and about a dozen businesses.

On May 4, a flash fire killed a mother and three children in a downtown tenement.

On June 4, a general alarm fire destroyed the Arrow Electric Company, two textile mills and three shops. Twenty-seven businesses suffered smoke or water.

Then, on June 11, a general alarm fire destroyed 
the downtown Silver Rod Cut Rate Drug Store, Vogue Millinery Shops and Rogers Clothing Company.

At the Arrow Electric conflagration, flames devoured "
large stocks of phonograph records and a 1,200 gallon oil tank in the basement," according to the July 1, 1951 edition of Fire Engineering.

"After this, the fire spread through vertical openings to involve the first and then the second floor, where it fed on a quantity of cloth and barrels of dyes and chemicals."

"Heavy machinery on the second floor caused it to collapse, as did the roof of the building."

The building didn't have automatic sprinklers.

At the height of the fire, more than 20 lines were playing on the flames.

"One wall of the Arrow building bulged out about a foot, and cracked badly enough to cause men and equipment to be moved," Fire Engineering said.

"The wind, though gentle, changed direction frequently from east to west and added to the firemen’s woes, as dense smoke rolled through the streets for blocks."

Arrow Electric response:

  • First Alarm @ 3:13 p.m. via street box: Engine 1, Engine 3, Truck 1, Emergency Squad
  • Second Alarm @ 3:16 p.m.: Engine 6