Dedicated to providing high quality, professional services to those who live, work, invest or visit our city. Protecting lives and property from fire and harm through continuous fire prevention, education, code enforcement, emergency, and non-emergency services.
June 3, 1887 – It was ordered that a brick pavement 55 feet long and 6 feet wide be laid on Sassafras Street for use of the Hose Company on which to clean and wash their hose.
July 1, 1887 – A communication from parties in Cape May in regard to regard to establishing a fire alarm system was read and referred to Fire Committee.
Sept. 2, 1887 – On motion, $25, was appropriated Resolution Hose Company to defray expenses at parade in Philadelphia on the 15th of Sept. The Company was granted permission to take a hose carriage and 100 feet of hose with it to the parade.
May 3, 1889 – Resolution Hose Company was given permission to erect a flag pole at the corner of Second and Sassafras Streets.
June 7, 1889 – The Chief of the Fire Department was authorized to have four tires put on the larger hose carriage.
Nov. 4 1889 – Following resolution was read and referred to the Fire Committee to report at next meeting. “Resolved that any members of Resolution Hose Company Number3, of the City of Millville, New Jersey, who have been in active service for the space of seven years or any member who shall at any time hereafter belong to said company and be in active service for the space of seven years, shall become an exempt member thereof and be entitled to all the rights and privileges of exemption, in accordance with the Laws of the State of New Jersey.”
Nov. 11, 1889 – Above resolution adopted.
Exemption Certificate given firemen after seven years of active service.
Circa 1897. Wm. Felmey collection.
Nov. 16, 1889 – Meeting called to consider legality of purchasing hose for the Fire Department. The mayor said he had been advised that any rubber company could loan the city the hose with the agreement to purchase same when the city should be in funds. The Hamilton Rudder Company then offered to make such a loan on motion was accepted.
Nov. 24, 1889
T.C. WHEATON & COMPANY
FLINT GLASS WORKS
The most disastrous conflagration that has visited this city for years, was the total destruction of T.C. Wheaton & Co. Glassworks at 3:30 o’clock last Sunday morning.
The entire plant consisting of glass factory, engine room, lamp room, office, blacksmith shop and packing room became the prey of flames and in an incredibly short time, were reduced to ashes. The fire was discovered by the watchman, Christian Reiner, shortly after 3 o’clock Sunday morning, who endeavored at first to quench it, but soon found it was beyond his control.
He then gave an alarm and although the factory is a considerable distance away from the City Hall, the Fire Department was quickly on the ground. The fire started in the rear of the factory and the flames quickly shot up to the roof of the lehr.
Five minutes later, the factory was a roaring mass of flames, leaping high into the air and lighting up the locality for squares around. There was no water on hand to quench the flames and the firemen turned their attention to getting goods out of the other buildings, but very little of the stock in the lamp room, packing house and office was saved, as the flames soon attacked the other buildings and licked them up as if they had been paste board boxes. The factory was situated far away from the city plugs. The nearest plugs are located at Second and Broad Streets and Depot and High Streets and the firemen did not have enough hose to reach either of them. It is estimated that there were between seven and eight tons of tubing in the works and they were melted by the intense heat and ran together in one solid mass. Most of the tubing saved was valueless and is known as “waste stuff.”
It is said that the furnace and pots are not damaged, but the glass in the latter was spoiled by the uneven temperature and cannot be used, but will have to be re-melted. There was over $1000, worth of glass in the pots at the time of the fire. All the lamp room workers owned their own tools and all of them were damaged beyond repair. This is a very serious loss to the workmen.
The glassworks consisted of a six pot factory, a lamp room 25 X 100 feet in size, with an L recently erected and used for a packing house and office. The entire plant with the exception of the chemical house, was destroyed. Had the flames attacked this building, there would have been a big explosion.
The works are owned by Dr. T.C. Wheaton and Frederick Van Staden, and employed over one hundred persons who are now thrown out of employment. The firm was very busy turning out orders and expected to take on 15 additional men on Monday. It is expected that the works will be rebuilt as soon as possible. The insurance amounts to $6300, divided between three companies: – American of Philadelphia and Royal and Lanceshire of England. The loss will amount to several thousand dollars. T.C. Wheaton and Company have the sympathy of the entire community in their misfortune.
Returning to the records of the Millville City Council, we find the following items:-
Feb.7, 1890 – The Fire Committee was ordered to have the necessary repairs made to the hangings of the fire bell in the City Hall Tower at a cost of $20.65.
History of Millville fire bell. Dale Wettstein collection.
June 6, 1890 – Hamilton Rubber Company paid for fire hose $846.
1890 CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OF RESOLUTION HOSE COMPANY No. 3 MILLVILLE, NJ
INTERESTING EXCERPTS FROM ABOVE BOOKLET
Photo taken in 1916 of Frank Bullock and his grandson, Maxfield Wallen. Bullock joined in 1882. Wallen joined in 1935 and has now served 50 years.
Photo from Max Wallen collection.
Each member on being admitted to active membership shall be subject to a monthly contribution of ten cents.
On an alarm of fire it shall be the duty of each member to proceed to the hose house, equip himself and assist in conveying the apparatus to the fire.
After the fire is so far extinguished that the chief deems the services of the company no longer necessary, the members shall assist in taking up the hose, and in due order, return the carriage to the hose house. The roll being called, they shall be at liberty to depart.
The member who first arrives at the hose house shall be entitled to the horn, and be denominated as director.
He shall have all the authority belonging to the directors during the absence from the hose house and be subject to the same penalties for neglect of duty.
Any member who shall, in the time of fire or alarm thereof, commence a quarrel or altercation with a member or members of this or any other company, shall, for the first offense, be fined as hereafter specified, and for the second, be punished in such a manner as the company may deem proper.
Fines of Members
For refusing to assist the carriage or other apparatus to or from a fire or false alarm, fifty cents.
For leaving the station assigned to him in time of fire without permission of the director, twenty five cents.
For running the carriage or other apparatus on the pavement, fifty cents.
For leaving the carriage or other apparatus, at or returning from a fire or false alarm without the permission of the director, fifty cents.
For disorderly conduct at a meeting or at a fire, fifty cents.
For refusing to assist in keeping the hose house or apparatus in order, twenty five cents.
For using another member’s equipment without permission, twenty five cents.
For commencing a quarrel with a member of this or any other company, one dollar.
For appearing at a fire, at a meeting or at the hose house in the state of intoxication, or for introducing any person in the same state at the hose house, shall be fined for the first offense, one dollar. For the second offense, two dollars. For the third offense, expulsion.
For lending key of the hose house to outsiders for the purpose for harboring therein, expulsion.
For refusing to assist the fire police when called upon, one dollar.
Any member not having four marks to his credit at stated meetings, or not making two thirds of the fires without offering a reasonable excuse, shall be expelled.
The equipment of this company shall consist of a black hat, known as the New York Fire Hat, with a red front, containing the name and number of the company in white letters and characters on red ground. Also, a dark blue fatigue cap, known as the New York Fireman’s Cap, a black enameled belt, two and a half inches wide, bound in red, with the name of the company in white letters on red ground, a slide of enameled black leather, bound in red, the character three (3) in white on red ground, blue shirt with character three (3) in white on front.
Courtesy Millville Fire Department.
Sept. 9, 1892 – The Fire Committee stated the electric company would place a fire gong on each fire house, upon which an alarm of fire could be made from one of any six boxes in various points in the city at a cost of $40 each gong. The company to do the work gratis. On motion, this was accepted and ordered done.
Jan.6, 1893 – The Fire Marshall was empowered to look after the condition of the fire plugs.
Oct. 25, 1893 – Wheaton’s Works One Fire. At ten minutes to 1 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, flames were seen issuing from the second story of the packing house at T.C. Wheaton’s Glass Works. The packing house is attached to the eastern end of the glass factory and across a ten foot alley stands a large ware shed.
A good breeze was blowing and the flames leaped across the alley and caught on to the weather boards of the ware shed. It looked for a few minutes as if the ware shed was doomed, but the efforts of a bucket brigade kept the flames back and confined them to the packing house, which was entirely consumed. Had it not been for the bucket brigade it is likely that the entire plant would have fallen prey to the flames, for it was 10 minutes to 1 when the fire was discovered and 25 minutes before the Fire Department had a stream of water playing on the fire.
Engineer Robbins of the West Jersey Locomotive No.21, helped wonderfully to keep the fire from spreading. He ran his engine on a side track in front of the factory and water for the bucket brigade was obtained from the tender tank.
The firemen labored under difficulties. The nearest fire plug was at Depot and High Streets and it required 2100 feet of hose to reach the burning building.
A long freight train passing at the time, caused some delay in getting the hose under the railroad tracks and when this was done and the water turned on, the end of the hose was so far from the plug that the stream did not contain much force.
Hundreds of people swarmed through the gates into the factory yard and watch the firemen and factory hands as they battled the flames. Before he water was secured from the city plug the hook and ladder truck was brought into use.
The long hooks were used to pull the building to pieces and the burning hay was thrown out on the ground, pulled apart and dirt thrown on it to smother the flames. The origin of the fire is a mystery, although many incline to believe that it was started by factory boys who were smoking in the hay loft during the noon hour.
Jacob Lloyd, who is employed in the packing house, said that the fire was first discovered by a boy named Boyd, who called his attention to it. When he saw it, the flames were coming through the roof of the building. Mr. Lloyd says that he was not absent from the building but ten minutes during the noon hour. He ate his dinner there and when he left there was no one in the packing room or hay loft.
Dr. Wheaton, managing owner, is at the World’s Fair and the exact amount of insurance cannot be ascertained.
The loss will not, it is thought, exceed $1000.
Nov. 25, 1893 – Two propositions for the furnishing of fire hose to the fire department were submitted by the Fire Committee. The committee and the chief recommend the adoption of the proposal of the Fabric Fire Hose Company, which is 1000 feet at $1.00 per foot.
April 21, 1894 – Mr. Parent moved that the Public Building Committee prepare specifications and plans for an extension to City Hall, providing additional room for the Fire Department and a cloak room for Council. So ordered. Estimated cost $2500.
Dec. 7 1894 – Permission was given the Building Committee to remove certain bodies from the rear of City Hall to make room for a cesspool to be placed there. (Ed. Note – At the time of this notation, the City Hall was located at the corner of Second and Sassafras. One of Millville’s first cemeteries was located behind the building.)
March 16, 1895 – The office of Kimball and Prince in Millville was destroyed by fire about one o’clock this morning. Mr. Kimball went down on the early train and up on the 913.
He found conclusive evidence that the building was set on fire. The flames were discovered soon after they started and the first people on the scene found that the fire originated in a closet far away from the stove. The loss has not been estimated. The building contained considerable hardware and stock of the firm.
The store of Mr. Troth on High Street was also entered and ransacked last night and the night before an office at the Foundry was robbed. It is supposed the same thieves are at work who set several houses on fire several weeks ago. The authorities are slow in locating the evil doers.
May 1, 1896 – Mr. Parent moved the Fire Committee be Authorized to erect a suitable building on City Hall lot, not to exceed $150, for storing hay. Passed.
May 7, 1897 – Mr. Austin moved the Fire Committee have the stone in front the Hose House roughed to prevent the horses from slipping and so ordered. Cost $48.
March 22, 1898 – On motion of Mr. Neipling a premium of $2 was granted to the first person who shall arrive at the Third Ward Hose House, with a horse, on an alarm of fire, to take the hose carriage there to the fire and return the same when through at the fire. So ordered.
May 6, 1898 – The salary of the driver of the hose carriage was made $10 per week.
July 1, 1898 – The mayor spoke of the need of a water test in the City Hall to determine the quantity of water in the standpipe. (Water Pressure gage)
June 25, 1898 – Millville had a disastrous fire Saturday night and is now minus Wilson’s Opera House. Smoke was seen issuing from the large building at 9:45 o’clock and in a short time the building was gutted.
The firemen were particularly active and succeeded in saving the stores on the first floor. The damage by water was great and the merchants will lose nearly all their stock. The Opera House was valued at $12,000 with only $8,000 insurance.
The Opera House has been closed since the High School Commencement Exercises Friday night and how the fire started is a mystery.
Wilson Opera House Fire, June 25, 1898. Located on S.W. corner of High and Sassafras Streets. Dale Wettstein collection.
Additional pictures of Wilson Opera House Fire.
Gary Wallen collection added 2018.
May 24, 1899 – The Fire Committee reported communication on a new hook and ladder truck and an offer by Rumsey and Co., Seneca Falls, N.Y. of a new truck for &875.
They guaranteed to sell the old truck for $150 within six months.
Mr. Austin moved that the committee arrange a contract for said new truck under such conditions and for such price, and that Mr. Sithens and Brown go to the factory to examine said truck, after a conference with the agent, if it is deemed necessary to do so. So ordered.
June 2, 1899 – The Fire Committee reported a contact made for a new hook and ladder truck.
June 9, 1899 – The Public Building Committee was instructed to examine and report what necessary extension is to be made for the housing of the new truck.
July 7, 1899 – The Public Building Committee reported an estimate from Hoffman on extension on fire house of $360 – $375 with iron girder, without painting.
Sept. 1, 1899 – Mr. Sithens reported he had received a check for the sale of the old fire truck and turned it over to the treasurer.