Feb. 2, 1900 – Mr. Brown introduced the following:
Whereas, City Recorder Hogate and Chairman of the Finance Committee, Geo Austin
having been notified in writing by Secretary Harry Wettstein, of Resolution
Hose Company, to the effect that the said company had for good and sufficient
cause dispensed with the services of Driver Albert Woolson and, whereas, the
chief was instructed to appoint a driver, Jan.1, 1900. He was to serve in
capacity of driver until the regular monthly meeting of the company and,
whereas the said Albert Woolson had refused to recognize the power that made
him driver, be it resolved that the chairman of the Finance Committee and City
Recorder be and are hereby instructed to accept from the Chief of the Department
and president of the company in writing, the name of the person or persons
acting in capacity of driver for Resolution Hose Company, and all orders shall
be drawn in favor of said person or persons for services rendered, provided the
salary shall not exceed the amount heretofore paid the driver of said company.
The above was adopted by a unanimous vote. L.H. Hogate recorder.
March 2, 1900 – The Fire Committee was authorized to purchase two new collars for the fire horses and sell the old ones to the best advantage.
March 27, 1900 – Two additional telephones for the use of the Fire Department were ordered place. One at Richard Slacks, Fourth and Florence Avenue and one at Jonus Downs, North Third Street.
Feb. 1, 1901 – Mr. Brown spoke of the inefficiency of one of the fire horses. Mr. Jones moved that said horse be sold or exchanged for one that is suitable for the purpose.
Remains of original Y.M.C.A. on Vine Street. Destroyed by fire about 1901. Exact date unknown. Collection Millville Y.M.C.A.
Feb. 7, 1902 – Edward Heaton made Chief and Fire
Marshall following the death of Chief George Yeiter. On motion of Mr. Austin
the salary of the Fire Marshall was made $50 per year.
March 7, 1902 – Mr. Austin moved that it be the sense of Council that the members of the Fire Department be more frequently drilled in the use of the apparatus so as to prove more efficient and that the Chief strictly enforce the rules of said department.
March 11, 1902 – The Council Meeting was called to consider proposal of Interstate Telephone Company in reference to supplying telephones for a fire alarm system. The Finance committee and the Fire Committee reported a conference with the telephone company in which they offered to equip, furnish and maintain sixteen telephones in all for fire alarm use and police use for five years for $168 per year, an all-night service with switchboard in the Mayor’s office.
Mr. Wheaton moved the recommendation
of the committees be adopted and the committee be authorized to prepare a
contract governing the same. So ordered.
Mr. Wheaton further moved that the
two committees have authority to locate said phones and boxes, and to have
sufficient number of keys made for same. This was adopted.
April 4, 1902 – The Chief of the Department asked Council to purchase 500 feet of new hose and Mr. Jones spoke of the poor condition of the building on Middle Avenue in which some fire hose is kept.
June 6, 1902 – Gutta Purcha Rubber Mfg. Co. offered to sell the city 500 feet of hose for $500 payable in one year without interest.
Sept. 5, 1902 – On motion of Mr. Branin the Fire Committee was authorized to contract for 500 feet of Patrol Brand fire hose at 80 cents per foot. The bill to remain unpaid for six months without interest.
March 6, 1903 – Bill paid to Fabric Fire Hose Co., for above $400.
May 1, 1903 – Chief of Fire Department, Heaton, spoke to Council of the need of two new horses for the department as the present horses are unfit for service, and of a wagon suitable for exercising purposes.
May 26, 1903 – Mr. Jones moved the Public building Committee investigate the cost of repairs to the fire house on the west side and report.
July 3, 1903 – Mr. Jones reported that it would cost $500 to put the fire house on the west side in good condition.
Map showing location of the fire house on Pike Avenue in building that was the original Western School. Collection of Max Wallen.
Nov. 6, 1903 – Fire Marshall Heaton spoke to
Council about the fire horses and the committee to have the power to dispose of
same and arrange for new ones under a guarantee. So ordered.
Dec. 4, 1903 – Mr. Austin presented a check of
Edson & Unsworth for $300, sale of fire horses.
Jan. 1, 1904 – Mr. Brown for the Fire Committee
recommended the purchase of two horses and harness therefore to drive double to
the hose carriage to fires and giving permission of $3 to the first double team
to follow carriage with hook and ladder truck. Adopted.
Feb. 5, 1904 – The fire Committee reported the
purchase of a suitable pair of horses at a cost of $400. Ordered paid.
Feb. 3, 1905 – The Fire Committee made a report
recommending that $500 be donated to the Fire Company for their use as
compensation for services.
This amount ($125) to be paid to them quarterly and dispersed
by them under such rules as they may make, subject to the approval of the Fire
Committee of Council. Adopted.
April 7, 1905 – Mr. Reardon spoke of the narrowness
of the Hose Room in City Hall and the danger to men riding out on the
apparatus. On motion of Mr. Heaton, the Fire Committee was authorized to get quotations
of prices for 500 feet of hose.
June 2, 1905 – The Fire Committee recommended the
purchase of 500 feet of fire hose at 90 cents per foot of the Mechanical Rubber
Feb. 2, 1905 – A request from the drivers for the
Fire Department for an increase in pay from $10 per week to $50 per month was
March 9, 1906 – Edward Heaton dies and Paul Ludlam
named Chief and Fire Marshall.
April 6, 1906 – Mr. Wheaton moved that a new phone
be placed in the Assistant Chief’s house and three new bells be added to the
system at an expense of $21. So ordered. On motion, the Fire Committee was
instructed to get bids and was given power to purchase 500 feet fire hose.
Feb. 23, 1907
Clark Livery Stable fire of February 23, 1907. Looking up the west side of High Street toward Sassafras. Collection of Dale Wettstein.
Clark Livery Stable Fire
Block Bound by High, Sassafras, Buck
and Main Streets
Fire destroyed nearly half of
Millville, Saturday night about 11 o’clock. Fire first caught in the rear of
Clark’s Livery Stables on High St., between Main and Sassafras Street and swept
through the entire stable, Brandriff’s Stove Store, Battens Automobile Shop,
Mrs. Vanstanden’s Dry Goods Store and Aronoff’s Shoe Store, besides burning out
the offices of the Bell Telephone Company, Office of the Justice of the Peace,
John P. Miller and rooms occupied by Mrs. Tozer and daughter and by Mr. &
Mrs. Lawless. For a time it also threatened the Doughty House and the large
Profenius Store, Lee Brothers Store and the houses along High, while the flames
threatened a number of times to leap across the street and sweep away the
Githens Building where the Bridgton News Office is situated. Only by the most
heroic work of the firemen were these buildings saved.
Although the night was bitter cold
with the water turning to ice as soon as it struck the buildings, Millville’s
volunteer fire department worked with wet and frozen clothes and with face and
hands exposed to the cold and with the water drenching them many times.
Such work had never been seen in
Millville and the big crowds who filled the streets were indeed proud of our
firemen. The origin of the fire is unknown except that it started in a small
stack of corn fodder in the rear of Clark’s Livery Stable.
Here it spread quickly and by the
time the alarm was given, the inflammable materials of the stable were blazing
high in the sky. It was about 11 o’clock and in a few minutes a large crowd had
assembled. The fire first started down near Buck and Sassafras Streets but
easily worked its way through the stables out toward the entrance on High
At the very first alarm, men rushed
in to get the horses out; twenty one of which were in the stables. Their exit
was a hard one, for the horses bunched together at the doors and refused to
come out. The men worked hard but the flames swept up to them before they could
get more than half of them out. As the flames struck the place where the horses
were kept, the cries and moans of the animals were horrible. One horse made a
dash for life and ran out of the stable in a blaze. The blanket on it was
blazing and his mane and tail were both on fire. As it came out of the stable
door, it seemed dazed and started to re-enter the burning building but some
natural impulse came to save it and it galloped flaming down toward the river
where it was caught and the fire put out.
By this time, the old Doughty House
stables were on fire. It looked bad for the big Doughty House with the fire
sweeping in that direction, when in some way, the fire turned and began to head
East toward High Street, following the trail of the more inflammable contents
of the stable.
The firemen could hardly get into
this part as the space is covered with small buildings used for various
purposes and really this half of the block was nothing but a great fire trap.
Over the livery stable office, a hostler and family lived and firemen managed
to save a few things for them.
By this time, the old Opera House building which had been on fire and re-built, caught fire and the center of it began to glow like a furnace.
Clark Livery Stable fire of February 23, 1907. View from Sassafras Street shows building which was badly damaged but was rebuilt. More recently known as the Newberry store building. Photo from collection of Max Wallen. (2018 this corner is known as the Arts Plaza with a water fountain)
corrugated iron siding held the flames in on the North near the News Office and
on the East opposite the Post Office, but the fire was completely gutting the
interior. On the South where Kurtz Tobacco and Cigar Factory stands, the brick
walls saved the day and though the roof burned slightly and the false top and
the sign burned, yet they received but little damage and firemen could handle
this part easily. In the fire itself however, but little could be done. The
heavy iron walls kept the firemen from getting in the center of the building
through which the fire now swept. Although they had about eight or nine lines
of hose, it was not nearly enough and it was easily shown Saturday night that
the department should have many more yards of hose to work with. The work they
did was wonderful.
As fast as the streams of water struck the buildings, it froze, making the roofs so slippery a man could not stand on them, while the ladders were frozen so hard that it was with great difficulty they could get them working. Most of the work was done by men throwing streams in the windows while they stood on the icy rungs of tall ladders. Every once in a while, a hose would burst or a careless fireman would send a stream the wrong way and other firemen would be drenched from head to foot with the water which immediately froze on them. Icicles hung down from them, yet with bare hands they worked on.
By this time, the Bell Telephone
Office and the Colonial Insurance Office were in a blaze, while the roofs were
falling in and the fire raged even fiercer than ever. It began to look as if
the flames would sweep across Sassafras Street into the Evening News Office
which is in the Githens Building. At Aronoff’s Shoe Store, the firemen made a
A young boy named Garry, took the
top of the ladder on Sassafras Street and standing in one of the windows where
he was liable to be hit with falling timbers at any moment, he poured water in
to the Colonial Office.
Three streams poured from the rear into the Telephone Office while on High Street, three more streams were poured into the windows of Squire Miller’s Offices. At the head of all the work, Chief Ludlam directed the efforts while Charles Whilden, Firman Reeves, Mort Wilson and many other led the work and worked wonders by themselves. Another man who deserved mention was Sam Wettstein, foreman of the truck who did splendid work. In fact, there were no sluggards. All the firemen took great risks both by the fire and by the cold. The effect of all these streams being poured into the center of the fire eventually had its effect, and at length the flames began to die out. Still the men had to work and it was morning before they were through.
Rear view of remains of Clark Livery Stable fire of February 23, 1907. Looking from corner of Buck and Sassafras. Photo from Collection of Max Wallen.
When at length the flames came under control, the people
glanced around at the damage and to business men the sight was indeed
appalling. Over half of the best business block was destroyed while the damage
ran in to the hundreds of thousands. Many carried no insurance at all as
insurance companies would not take the risk so evident was the fire trap where
the stores were located. A real estimate of the actual damage would be
impossible for what was not ruined by fire was ruined by water. The buildings
of course are gone and these were considered the most valuable sites in
The damage was as near as possible as follows: Sheppard Clark
Livery Stable, ten horses and all his wagons, harness, hay, etc. Damage
estimated at $15,000. No Insurance.
Ben Rogers Barber Shop, many things saved, but damage will
amount to $200. No Insurance.
S.P. Murphy, jeweler, missed to a great extent by the fire,
but loss will run into $200. No insurance.
Doughty House barn, loss $800. Partially insured.
Albert Brandriff, plumper and store and hardware store,
stoves and work shop damaged by water. Loss estimated at $2000. No Insurance.
William Batten automobile and bicycle repair garage and
hardware supply store, loss probably $8000. No insurance.
Mrs. Vanstanden, dry goods and ladies dree goods. All
destroyed by fire and water. Loss between $9000 and $10,000. Partially insured.
Philip Aronoff, shoe store. Damaged by smoke and water. Loss
probably $5000. Partially insured.
Family living over livery stable, household goods loss
probably $300. No insurance.
Mr. and Mrs. Lawless household goods loss probably $300. No
Mrs. Tozer household goods loss probably $500. No insurance.
Bell Telephone Company which had cables and instruments. Loss
probably $93,000. Partially insured.
Justice of the Peace, John P. Miller, loss of office,
valuable papers and books $1000.Not insured.
Club Room on Sassafras Street, loss $500. Partial insurance.
The Opera House Building and the livery stable building,
total loss estimated at $12,000. Partially insured.
Benjamin Davis was the owner of the property destroyed, while
the Opera House building was owned by Vineland parties.
Desperate Struggle on Main Street
Among those who feared the fire the worst, were residents of
the houses on Main Street, the back yards of which were directly in the course
of the fire.
The fire gave every evidence in the beginning of sweeping
away this entire row, including the Doughty House. At one time the fire was
directly at their back doors. Just in time, the slight wind changed and the
fire made for High Street.
At the Doughty House, every precaution was taken and so close
was the fire at one time many of the quests of the famous old hotel gathered
together their jewelry and clothes and left their rooms. As it was, the barn in
the rear of the house was totally destroyed but the flames did not quite reach
the hotel itself. In the rear of Worstall’s barn and large grocery store, a
number of men played a hose for several hours and prevented the flames from
crossing over. The horses were taken out of the barn as the flames seemed to be
At the residence of Scott Calkins, the tailor, the flames
came up in the back yard and burned away the fence, but men on the roof with
buckets of water, prevented the sparks from catching.
At the home of Miss Ada Myers, the outhouses were all burned.
During the midst of the fire, Miss Myers herself took an axe and knocked down
the back fence, thus probably saving the house. In the meantime, men on the
roof kept the boards wet with water and no sparks caught.
At the home and store of Adolph Hess, the flames burned his
poultry house and several small storehouses and were only kept from the main
building by the hardest kind of work.
The Steelman Building and the Kurtz Building really got the
worse of the affair as they lay directly in the path of the flames. Fortunately
they are of brick and the fire meeting the brick walls, turned aside made its
way toward the other side where the more inflammable wooden buildings fed its
hungry mouth. But for the brick walls, the whole end of the block would have
All during the fire, the local Lodge of Elks played a
prominent part by serving the firemen with hot coffee and rolls. Their janitor,
George Long, stood over the gas stove and prepared hot boilers of coffee for
the tired and cold firemen. This did much toward alleviating their sufferings
and was certainly gratefully received.
During the fire, the Githens Building on the corner of
Sassafras and High Streets, was in danger a number of times. The building is a
frame one and would have easily caught had the flames leaped across. In the
second story is situated the Bridgeton – Millville Evening News Office and a
number of times it looked as if it would catch fire. Immediately across, the
Bell Telephone and the Colonial Life Insurance offices were a mass of flames
and nothing but the splendid work of the firemen stopped the flames from going
across the street and burning the Githens Building.
A large number of people lined the steps to the News Office
where they could get a splendid view of the fire until it grew so hot they had
to leave. Here it was the firemen made their most desperate resistance and the
work was indeed splendid at this part of the building. As the flames were
sweeping down the hall in the center of the offices, the men ran ladders up to
By this time, the flames had gotten a good hold on the
The Furnace Hose Company under the direction of William Brown
took charge here and while one hose played on the telephone office, a boy named
Garry ran up the ladder to the Colonial Office. Here he stood, soaking wet and
freezing cold, while he broke the windows in and got the hose working inside.
Timbers crashed around him while the ropes burned in the window sashes and they
came crashing down but the boy still climbed really inside the window and
sitting there, directed the hose on that side.
He finally became so exhausted that other men had to be sent
to his assistance but with their help, he pluckily stayed there and fought the
flames until they were under control. It is said that he is not even a member
of the fire company but volunteered for work when he saw the extent of the
Many people stood on the front and side roof of the News
Office to view the fire while the inside was a haven of rest to the tired and
Many of the important papers and books of the Bell Telephone
Company were saved and brought to the News Office for safekeeping.
Many accidents happened during the fire. Harry Miller, the
son of Esquire John P. Miller, climbed from his father’s office out on the tin
roof and striking the ice outside, slipped all the way down the roof and out
into the street. Fortunately, he landed on his feet and was not injured.
Herbert McKenzie stationed on a roof in the rear of the Opera
House block, was overcome by the cold and when found was stiff. He was taken in
City Hall and with great effort was finally resuscitated.
His condition today is critical.
Frank Kerrick was bruised severely by a fall from the roof.
Robert Whitaker was burned badly about the arms.
Charles Stanger was struck in the face with a two inch steam
of water and one eye seriously injured.
Harry Ladd, a volunteer fireman, sprained his ankle badly in
a fall from a roof.
Jerome Daniels cut his hand deeply trying to get into one of
Many of the firemen were badly frozen about the hands and feet, but quick work saved them any other damage than inconvenience.
Remains of several buildings near southeast corner of Buck and Main Streets in vicinity of present City Hall parking lot. Believed to have been a saw mill and ice house. Date unknown. View looking east. Dale Wettstein Collection.
View looking north toward Maurice River Bridge shows the remains of several buildings near south east corner of Buck and Main Streets in vicinity of present City Hall parking lot. Believed to have been a saw mill and ice house. Date unknown in this photo from the Dale Wettstein Collection.
Many Thank Firemen
There is nothing but praise for the
firemen today for they had the hardest fight in history of Millville Saturday
night and worked all the time under difficulties. A number of times, old hose
burst, there was half enough of good hose while the ice froze up the extension
ladders so that they had all kinds of trouble getting them up. They did
wonderful work sliding on icy roofs, frozen stiff in a thin coat (of ice) all
over them and with exposed hands and fighting the fire as they did. The
merchants gave them great praise. Mrs. Vanstanden, Philip Aronoff, Albert
Brandriff, and in fact, all who were in the fire, wishing especially to thank
Feb. 27, 1907 – Firemen’s work appreciated. A meeting of businessmen was held at C.M. Ware’s store to devise means whereby they might show to the firemen their appreciation of their work at the recent fire. The following gentlemen present:
- George S. Bacon
- E.B. Goodwin
- Howard A. Grey
- R.B. Corson
- Harry Sounders
- James S. Bishop
- C.M. Ware
- J.B. Stevens
- William G. Champion
- Joseph Henry
- Albert Dunham
- William F. Lee
- Ralph Lee
- Philip Aronoff
- John Martin
- Thomas Whitaker
- Scoot Wheaton
- S.S. McAllister
By unanimous vote, George S. Bacon was elected chairman and
S.S. McAllister, Secretary.
After general discussion, it was
decided that funds be solicited to be used in supplying needed equipment for
the Fire Department and if sufficient secured, to also give them a banquet. A
motion was unanimously carried that the chair appoint a committee of five to
solicit funds and the following were appointed: C.M. Ware, J.B. Stevens, Lee
brothers, Joseph Henry, S.S. McAllister. The meeting adjourned. Anyone desiring
to contribute can give the same to any of the soliciting committee.
March 6, 1907 – Citizens Committee raises money to purchase each member a pair of rubber boots and gloves.
April 5, 1907 – Mr. Radcliffe, Fire Committee, directed to purchase 500 feet of hose from Boston Woven Hose Company for $500.
May 1, 1907 – Resolved that the members of the Resolution Hose Company, No. 3 extend their heartiest thanks to Millville Lodge #580 Benevolent Order of Elks and to all other citizens who by providing clothing, coffee and lunch for the members of the company on the evening of February 23, 1907, aided and assisted the firemen in their efforts to save and protect property in the business district. Copy to be published in the Bridgeton Evening News and the Millville Daily Republican.
June 7, 1907 – Suggestion of Mr. Brown to provide individual alarms in fireman’s homes, referred to Fire Committee.
August 2, 1907 – An exchange of one of the fire horses having been made, the Finance Committee was empowered to draw an order for $100, if the new horse is satisfactory.
Remains of T.C. Wheaton #2 Factory
destroyed by fire, Jan. 28, 1908.
Jan. 28, 1908 – Wheaton No. 2 Factory
The Small Tank of T.C. Wheaton’s Was
Burned this Morning at about 5 O’clock.
Origin of the Fire is Unknown.
Jame Shaneal, the watchman, said “I
heard a rumble and looking up I saw the roof a whole mass of flames. I called a
boy who was sleeping in the factory and told him to run to the Engine Room and
tell the engineer to blow the whistle. I do not know how the fire started. The
boys who live at Vineland and work nights here, sleep in the factory till the
car starts to run to Vineland. This is how the boy happened to be here. This is
the small tank where the blue glass is made.”
The prompt action on the part of the
firemen saved the works from complete destruction and deserve much credit for
March 6, 1908 – Mr. Brown reported that call bells can be placed in each fireman’s home for use in giving calls on alarm of fire for some $1500. Referred to Fire Committee.
April 3, 1908 – Petition asking for some firefighting apparatus, a hose house and a hydrant at Mount Pleasant was referred to the Finance Committee.
May 1, 1908 – The police and fire alarm system being unsatisfactory, the bill of Inter-State Telephone Company for $42 for said service was referred to the Finance Committee.
In speaking of fire alarms to the
Hose Company, Mr. Austin moved that some agreement be made with Peoples Water
Company whereby a steam siren or “screecher” may be connected with their boiler
at the Water Plant.
June 3, 1908 – Fire Company asks the city for call bells in the firemen’s homes.
October, 1908 – Millville Insurance Map, Sanborn Map Company lists the Millville Fire Department as three stations organized under one company with two fully paid men and 41 volunteers. Two horses and two on call, fire alarm by 17 stations installed by Inter-State Telephone Company, one hose wagon, three hose carts, one hook and ladder truck and 3050 feet of hose were all in existence.
Dec. 4, 1908 – A communication from the Fire Department asking for call bells in the residence of each member was read and referred to the Fire Committee.
Apr. 2, 1909 – On motion of Mr. Reardon the Fire Committee was directed to purchase 500 feet of good fire hose. Awarded to Revere Rubber Company, $525.
Aug. 6, 1909 – Mr. Reardon consider installation of fire alarm system in city.
Oct. 1 1909 – The special committee investigating the installation of fire alarm call bells in the homes of the firemen reported adversely.
Dec. 3, 1909 – Communication from the paid drivers of the Fire Department requesting monthly increase to $60 was read. This was rejected.
Jan. 6, 1910 – Mr. Brown reported on improvements to the hose house on Middle Ave. The house can be put in fair condition for a small amount and R.R. Haines will janitor it for $12 a year. Ordered done.
Jan. 27, 1910 – Firemen give entertainment for benefit of the company at the Alhambra. Admission 10 cents.
Dec. 2, 1910 – Mr. Stewart spoke of the poor fire protection afforded the west side and moved that the hose house there be put in proper state of repair by the fire Committee.
Feb. 3, 1911 – Mr. Brown of the Fire Committee recommended the purchase of 1,000 ft. of new fire hose, the election of a janitor for the West Side Hose House and consideration of the purchase of an automobile chemical engine. (This is the first reference to a motorized piece of equipment for the Fire Department.)
Mr. Radcliff moved the purchase of
1,000 feet of fire hose. Furman Mulford elected janitor of the West Side Hose
House at a salary of $12 per year.
Complaint was made of the telephone
service in fire alarms.
Mr. Horton moved the Fire Committee ascertain the rulings or customs of the Telephone Company governing such matters.
Millville’s second motorized piece. Converted Marquette Automobile for Third Ward. Firemen l-r: Joseph Chamberland, Charles Cox, Tabby Cossaboon, Nate Garrison, William Weber, Clad Silvers.
Photo Dale Wettstein collection.
Mar. 3, 1911 – Mr. Brown of the Fire Committee reported
the purchase of 500 feet of hose from Eureka Rubber Co. and 500 feet from New
Jersey Rubber Co. at $1 per foot.
Apr. 7, 1911 – Mr. Stewart moved that the fire chief immediately equip the fire house on the west side with 500 feet of good hose and furnish the janitor with a key.
May 5, 1911 – Mr. Felmey moved that a suitable drying tower be erected for fire hose. Mr. Brown moved an amendment that the tower be strong and high enough to support the fire alarm bell.
July 10, 1911 – Mr. Brown moved that the Ordinance Committee prepare an ordinance prohibiting the hindrance of firemen at fires and providing a penalty for driving across lines of fire hose at fires. So ordered.
Aug. 4, 1911 – Mr. Stewart moved that the Fire Committee try to secure a portion of the old Western School grounds (on Pike Ave.) for a fire house or else locate a suitable lot for same.
Map showing location of the fire
house on Pike Avenue in building that was the original Western School.
Collection of Max Wallen.
Oct. 6, 1911 – Mr. Brown reported that no terms
can be made with the Board of Education for a room for fire apparatus in the
old West Side School and moved that the Fire Committee have power to get an
option for a suitable lot on the west side. Agreed.
He also brought up the question of a
hose tower for drying fire hose. Mr. Horton moved and it was carried that the
Fire Committee try to make some arrangements with hooks or racks in the hose
house for the purpose mentioned.
Nov. 3, 1911 – Mr. Wheaton reported that skeleton hose tower for drying hose can be erected for about $500. If iron covered, $900 – $1,000. A platform for the same purpose would cost about $25.
The Committee advised building a drying
platform and was ordered to erect one at a cost not to exceed $25.
Dec. 1, 1911 – A petition was received from Fire Department drivers, Nate Garrison and Howard Sooy asking for an increase of pay weekly. On motion the weekly pay of said drivers was made $13.85 beginning Jan. 1, 1912.
Mr. Brown reported for the Fire
Committee that a suitable lot can be purchased on West Main St. for a fire
house for $483. Referred to the Finance Committee.
Mar. 1, 1912 – Mr. Radcliff moved that the Commissioner of Public Buildings have plans and specifications drawn for a hose drying tower for the Fire Department and report to Council. Motion Prevailed.
Jan. 7, 1912 – Mr. Troth presented for the Public Building Committee plans and specifications for a hose tower.
On motion of Mr. Brown the Committee
was directed to advertise for bids.
July 5, 1912 – Bids for the erection of a fire hose tower were opened.
Lehman Busby $2847
John S. Hoffman $2600
Henry Hoffman $2465
Oct. 4, 1912 – Mr. Sheppard of the Fire Committee moved that the present bell tower on City Hall be removed as soon as the fire bell is removed to its new position on top of the hose tower which is now finished.
Hose drying tower erected in 1912. Note bell installed in tower, also siren on top. Photo Dale Wettstein collection.
Nov. 1, 1912 – Mr. Brown for the hose company made
a request for a mechanical striker attached to the fire alarm bell. Referred to
the Fire Committee.
Nov. 26, 1912 –
Fire At T.C. Wheaton
A fire at the glass factory of T.C.
Wheaton and Company very early this morning destroyed several of the smaller
buildings, and threatened the big factory buildings but fortunately was gotten
under control before any were destroyed.
The alarm was turned in at 1 o’clock
and the firemen were soon on the scene and did splendid work.
There was some difficulty in
sounding the alarm for the flames were in the office and in the boiler room
where the “fire whistle” could not be reached.
The buildings destroyed were the
office, lamp room, blow over room, machine shop and the boiler room.
The main factory building was only
scorched and the ware shed caught from flying embers, but the firemen were able
to save both these valuable buildings. They had four streams going and in less
than an hour by their effective work had the flames under control, but did not
leave the dying embers until daylight.
There were dwelling houses nearby
but fortunately the wind had fallen and these were not fired.
As soon as the boiler room can be
rebuilt, the plant can be put in operation again.
There are about 200 men out of
employment. Twenty eight blowers with their tending boys will be able to go
back to work in about a week. The work of rebuilding will begin as soon as
Dec. 6, 1912 – Bids for removing bell tower from rear of City Hall, Clarence Hoffman $35, L.B. Busby $19. Awarded Busby. Bid for removing fire bell F.C. Wallen for $35. Awarded Wallen. The committee was authorized to have an iron stand placed for carrying the trestle of the bell.
Dec. 20, 1912 – Mr. Troth for the Fire Committee ordered the following bids for a mechanical striker for the fore bell,
striker & 1 box $673
striker & 10 boxes $1706
Heever striker – motor wound $600
Heever striker – hand wound bid $520
Jan. 17, 1913 – Mr. Troth for the joint committee reported an investigation of bids for the mechanical fire alarm striker and moved the ordinance relative to the Interstate Telephone Co., be complied with and to purchase a Gamewell mechanical striker and discard the present system now in use in the Mayor’s Office. Motion passed.
The Gamewell Mechanical Bell Striker installed in tower of City Hall on Second and Sassafras Sts. In 1913. Photo Gary Wallen collection.
Feb. 21, 1913 – Mr. Troth for the committee to
purchase a lot for a fire house on the west side reported an offer for a lot on
Mulford Avenue by Geo Mulford for $200.
March 21, 1913 – Mr. Felmey spoke of the possible abandonment of the old Western School (on Pike Ave.) and its suitability for a fire house for the west side and moved that the Public Building Committee cease further operations of proposed purchase of a site for such a building, until further arrangements can be made. Motion carried.
April 2, 1913 – Fire Company publishes notice in the newspaper that the public will not enter any residence during a fire except family and firemen.
May 16, 1913 – Bill paid Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Co., New York City $643.
July 25, 1913 – Mr. Corson spoke of the need of heat in the new hose tower and moved that sealed bids be received.
Aug. 15, 1913 – Barnett Livery Stable Destroyed
Fire of unknown origin completely
destroyed the big barn and workshop of Benjamin Barnett and son shortly after
midnight this morning.
Seventeen head of horses, highly
valued, were burned to death in the fire which raged fiercely for half an hour
in which time the huge building, situated in the rear of the Barnett home, on
North Third Street, was reduced to a heap of red hot ashes.
The fire department was on the scene
of the blaze within five minutes after the alarm had been given, but by that
time the flames had secured such headway that there was no hope of saving the
The efforts of the firemen were exerted
to save the Barnett home and other surrounding buildings.
How the blaze originated is a
mystery, although it is suspected that it had its beginning from an incendiary
source. A statement made by Herschel Peterson, a young man who lives in that
locality, saw the figure of a man sulking along the fence to the north side of
the Barnett residence and then disappear in the direction of the barn.
A few minutes later the flames broke
A youth attempted to send in the
alarm from the abandoned fire alarm box on the nearby corner, but his efforts
Officer William Wright was able to
telephone the alarm to the fire house. He declares he experienced considerable
trouble getting the call in.
The flames illuminated the entire
city and from a distance it gave the appearance of the entire block burning.
A number of the horses that were
burned were valued as high as $200 each. Their cries as the fire came upon them
pitiful to hear.
A score or more wagons which stood
near the barn were saved.
Nov. 21, 1913 – Bids for heating the hose tower were as follows: – Porteus Brandriff $112 – Thomas Roberts $175. Awarded Brandriff.
Dec. 19, 1913 – Mr. Corson recommended purchase of 500 feet of Paragon Brand fire hose from Eureka Fire Hose Mfg. Co. at $1.10 foot.
Dec. 26, 1913 – Gamewell Fire Alarm Company corrects defects in system. Cost $16.48
March 13, 1914 – A deed of transfer from the Board of Education for the old Western School House on Pike Avenue to the city (for possible use as a fire house) was ordered recorded.
February 1915 – Millville Insurance Map Sanborn Map Company – Population 14,500. Millville Fire Department consists of three fire stations organized under one company, 2 fully paid men, 41 volunteers, 2 permanent and three call horses, bell alarm rung automatically by one Gamewell System Box in central fire station, 1 hook and ladder truck, 3050 (feet) of 2½ inch cotton rubber lined hose, 1 hose wagon and 3 hose reels, 2 of which are horse drawn.
A city ordinance has been passed
authorizing a bond issue to install a complete Gamewell Fire Alarm System and
to add one possibly two auto combination hose and chemical trucks.
March 12, 1915 – Resolution No. 107 providing for applying the sum of $500 to purchase of fire apparatus. Approved March 26, 1915.
March 19, 1915 – Mr. Corson recommended putting a concrete floor in the city hall at an expense of $120. Carried.
April 2, 1915 – The following bids were received for motor fire apparatus in accordance with advertisement of March 15, 22, 29, 1915. Autocar Sales & r $4100, – 2 cars &5600 – 1 car &3500, Harwood Bailey Mfg. Co. – 1 car $4500 – 1 car $4100, James Boyd & Bro. – 1 car $3750 – 2 cars $7400, Knox Motor Co. -1 car $4285 – 2 cars $4205 each, American La France Fire Engine Co. – 1 car $3900 – 1 car $4900.
April 16, 1915 – A petition from residents of the Third Ward requesting the purchase of an automobile fire hose and chemical wagon for the Third Ward hose house was received and filed.
Director Corson reported that after
careful consideration and conference with the fire department, they had decided
to recommend the purchase of the American La France fire engine truck as per
their bid of 3/31/1915 except two chemical tanks are wanted instead of one at
an additional cost of $250.
May 14, 1915 – Mr. Corson filed maps and specifications for police and fire alarm systems and was directed to advertise for bids for same.
June 2, 1915 – Resolution Hose adopts canary and light blue as proper colors for the company. Also to adopt the fatigue style dress coat for the uniform. Color of coat to be maroon.
June 4, 1915 – Mr. Corson referred to a demonstration to be given by the fire companies of South Jersey at Wildwood on July 15 and stated the Resolution Hose Company desire to participate at an expense to the city not to exceed $100. Request granted.
June 11, 1915 – A communication from American La France Fire Engine Co., stating that their apparatus would be delayed until the last of July was read and on motion of Mr. Corson the clerk was directed to notify the company, by wire, that the Board of Commissioners would refuse to accept the apparatus unless same is delivered in Millville on or before July 4, 1915.
Mayor Geig ordered bids for the fire
alarms telegraph system opened at this time. Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Co.,
New York, N.Y. Proposal No. 1 covers 17 non-interference and succession type of
Gamewell Fire Alarm signal boxes to be located and installed as set forth on
city map. Also, including all necessary outside telegraph line work required to
connect the said 17 boxes to the other parts of the present fire alarm
telegraph system – $2165.
Proposal No. 2 same as No. 1 except
the outside telegraph system – $1500.Proposal
Proposal No. 3 covers 17 of
Gamewells Excelsior non-interference type of fire alarm signal boxes instead of
the type in Proposal No. 1 – $1995.
Proposal No. 4 covered everything in
Proposal No. 3 excluding the outside telegraph line work – $1330.
Star Electric Co., Newark, N.J.
proposal for 14 non-interfering and succession fire alarm boxes installed
complete as specified for $1851. Said equipment exclusive of installation for
June 18, 1915 – A communication from American La France Fire Engine Co., stating that apparatus would be shipped June 20 was read and filed.
A communication from the American
Flint Glass Workers Union protesting against purchase of fire apparatus from
the American La France because of labor trouble at their factory was on motion
of Mr. Whitaker referred to Director Corson and Mayor Geig for their
June 25, 1915 – Mr. Corson recommended awarding the contract for 14 fire alarm signal boxes and necessary equipment to the Gamewell Fire Alarm Co., the lowest bidder, for the sum of $1800.
1915 American La France, Millville’s first motorized apparatus. (l-r) unknown, Mayor Harry Geig, Paul Ludlam, Walter Owen, Frank Bullock, Oscar Weber and Albert Weber. Photo James Owen collection.
July 15, 1915 – Firemen receive three awards at
Wildwood Fireman’s Parade at Wildwood. The representatives of this city brought
back three prizes – the greatest number obtained by any city represented in the
The Millville Fire Department received
first prize for being the best dressed and making the best appearance of any in
line. The local company was given the second prize for having the best
The new American La France Chemical
Engine drew admiring comments from the spectators while the antiquated hand
engine of 1855 which was taken along to show the progress in the intervening
years, was an interesting sight for everyone. The Millville Band made a fine
appearance and played excellently. So good was their work that the judges
awarded the second band prize to Millville. Considering there were a dozen
bands in line, this is quite an achievement for the local musicians.
As an advertisement for Millville, it was of great value. The firemen, dressed in natty new uniforms recently purchased from Harry Sheffer, assuredly looked well. The Millville representatives drew continuous applause along the entire length of march.
Trophies won by Millville Fire Department at Wildwood, NJ in 1915 – 1916.
Photo Dale Wettstein collection.
July 30, 1915 – Mr. Corson presented bid of Frank
H. Sheppard of $110 to construct a bedroom and toilet facilities on first floor
of city hall fire house.
Aug.6, 1915 – On motion of Mr. Corson the fire
horses were ordered sold at public auction to the highest bidder.
Aug. 18, 1915 – Resolution Hose Company presents
engraved revolver to Wm. Bonnell of Wildwood (to Mr. Wm. Bonnell from the
Millville Fire Department in appreciation for his hospitality at Wildwood Crest
July 15, 1915).
Sept. 1, 1915 –
The Millville Fire Department
appears to be a prize winner at every appearance. Yesterday at Vineland, the
local company of fire fighters brought home all the prizes that it was possible
for them to capture in the parade.
The Millville Department secured the
first prize for making the best appearance and also the first prize for having
the largest number in line.
The Millvillians looked good. Their
appearance attracted considerable attention and drew much applause all along
the line of march. Headed by the Millville Band, a body of musicians which is
fast achieving fame in this section of the state; the local representation was
Chief Paul Ludlam led the firemen
and that they are a pretentious appearing body of sturdy Americans cannot be
denied. Back of them came the new $5100 La France truck driven by Harry Conover
and the hose cart in use half a century ago.
The parade attracted the biggest
crowd the Vinland Carnival has had yet. Landis Avenue was lined on either side
for several blocks.
Frank B. Potter led the procession.
He rode a horse as did his two aids, Miss Belle Backer and brother, William.
Following were the Junior Mechanic
Guards from Bridgeton, Millville and Vineland, then the Glassboro Fire Company
and the Vineland City Silver Band.
The Millville Delegation came next.
They were followed by Pitman Fire
Patrol and the Italian Bands of Vineland. Then came a huge wagon containing the
women’s auxiliary of the Pioneer Fire Department of Vineland.
The Reliance Company, a younger
organization of Vineland, with their new chemical engine made a nice appearance
followed by the New Jersey Training School Band.
Members of the Tuscola Tribe of Red
Men of Millville and the Muskee Tribe of Vineland with floats and a body of
young ladies clothed in white with yellow decorations advertising the suffrage
cause, they being headed by Mrs. H. Wycroff in a prettily trimmed electric
A baseball game between Vineland and
Minotola drew a large crowd and last evening the sham battle was an
Oct. 24, 1915 –
WESLEY MEMORIAL METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
What was the first of many mutual
assistance runs by the Millville Fire Department made to neighboring towns, was
to the fire that completely destroyed Bridgeton’s Wesley Memorial Church on
North Pearl Street. The run was made by Millville’s new American La France hose
truck, only four months old and one of the first motorized pieces in Cumberland
County. Bridgeton council man, John M. Lanning, chairman of the Fire Committee,
telephoned to the Millville Fire Department for aid.
The call was given their prompt
response and their new auto fire truck was sent across the pike in record time,
10:20 A.M. The act was greatly appreciated, but by that time the danger was
passed, the church was in ruins and there was nothing for the truck to do.
Dec. 2, 1915 – Mr. Corson spoke at length on the question of abolishing the horses for the Third Ward hose house and substituting a motor vehicle of some character. On motion of Mr. Ware, Director Corson was instructed to learn about the expense of a motor truck for the Third Ward.
Dec. 17, 1915 – Mr. Corson reported that the proposed motor fire apparatus for the Third Ward would cost about $720. Mr. Ware’s motion authorizing the purchase of various parts, to make up the vehicle, excepting the chemical tank, was passed.
Dec. 24, 1915 – Mr. Corson reported the purchase of part of the apparatus for the motor truck, for Third Ward, as was instructed.
Dec. 26, 1915 –
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH BURNS
Fire which broke out in the First
Baptist Church yesterday morning destroyed much of the interior of the
building. The Sunday School room suffered most.
The basement was considerably
damaged, probably the greatest amount of damage occurred here and in the
ceiling and roof.
The flames shot up between the
partitions with great rapidity. The slate roof and general fireproof
construction of the exterior of the building prevented a fire that might have
developed into a conflagration in the center of town.
The high wind would have made the
blaze a bad one had it had a good start on the outside.
Flames broke through the roof
several times but the alert firemen quickly extinguished them, confining the
struggle to the interior which they conquered after an hours fight in frigid atmosphere
made more so by the dripping water in which they worked. An estimate of the
destruction assesses damage at about $12,000 and if it is not greater than
this, it is nearly covered by insurance. There is $10,000 on the building and
$1200 on the organ.
The fire is thought to have
originated from a hot air heater.
The energetic work of the members of
the Millville Fire Department is to be commended. Their activity and ability
was never more plainly revealed.
The boys are deserving of
considerable credit for controlling the threatening blaze.
Director of Public Safety, R.B.
Corson, who donned a rubber coat and entered in the firefighting, feels proud
Every foot of hose owned by the city
was utilized and two reels, one from the lower and one from the upper works of
Whitall Tatum Company were also used.
George Bacon and Wm. Nicholson
directed the use of the company’s apparatus in an efficient manner. Mr. Bacon
sent to the Glasstown Plant for additional ladders. He was a helpful assistant
and his suggestions were timely and promptly executed.
Chief Paul Ludlam was in the thick
smoke all the time, with Firman Reeves, Roy Oliver, and Joe Chamberland. The
other firemen had good examples to follow and there were none of the fellows
who didn’t have a hand in the task.
Every member of the department
cannot be singly mentioned, but the work of each must be remembered as a unit
which goes to compose an efficient firefighting company.
Only last week the contract for the
installation of a new heating system had been given and because of the
inefficiency of the old one, yesterday’s morning service was being held in the
Sunday school room.
The auditorium, in which is the new
pipe organ, was not damaged by fire or water.
The interior was pretty well smoked
up. The Sabbath School room suffered much.
The ceiling and walls were badly
damaged. The frame work on which the slate roof rested was burned and the roof
in several places was punched out.
The fire originated from the cellar
and while there isn’t anyone who can positively say that it started from the heater
that appears to be the general opinion. The sexton, Richard Oliver, was running
the furnace in an effort to warm the building thoroughly and possibly it became
overheated. Oliver had been attending the fire faithfully and had stepped from
the basement only a few minutes before. He cannot understand how ignition to
the woodwork could have resulted from the heater.
Members of the Board of Trustees
scoff the heater idea also. One man declared that it could easily be seen that
the fire started at least fifteen feet from the furnace.
Just as soon as the insurance
company has examined the ruins and the adjusters have determined the amount of
damage, work will be started on repairing the edifice.
The systematic firefighting was
probably what prevented the damage from being greater.
The space about the church was roped
off and special officers kept the crowd away from the burning building.
The firemen suffered somewhat from
the cold especially those who handled the hose and worked in the water.
Director Corson sent for several dozen warm gloves which were distributed among
Two lines of hose were kept in the
building all afternoon.
The Church is still standing at the
corner of North Second and Sassafras Streets today. (added 2018)
Feb. 2, 1916 – Whitall Tatum presents rubber boots to all members of the company.
Feb. 18, 1916 – District Superintendent Neal of the M.E. Church asked the continuation of the favor of holding religious services in the 5th Ward fire house.
Mar. 16, 1916 – Company adopts leather helmets as their regulation headgear.
Millville Fire Department 1916.
Front row (l-r) Grover Wolverton, Charles Cox, Jos Chamberlin, John Stevens (chief), Albert Weber, Geo. Penn second row: John Dunham, Walter Owens, Frank Parker, Joseph Scholes, Leon Oliver, Sr. Joseph Hogan, Ovid Hay, Frank Bullock, grandson Frank Zimmerman third row Edward Peterson, Richard Carey, Clarence Felmey, Howard Sooy (driver), Earl Bittle, William Brown, Frank Newcomb, Paul Ludlam, Chris Smith, Clad Silvers, Oscar Weber, George Zimmerman (driver) James Downs, Nate Garrison (driver) Thomas Corson, Lester Smith
Photo MFD archives
April 14, 1916 – John Stevens elected fire chief
and fire marshall.
Mr. Corson moved to award a contract
for 900 feet Paragon multiple fire hose to the Eureka Fire Hose Mfg. Co. at
1.10 per foot and a contract for 100 feet of Mahoning Brand to the Republic
Rudder Co., for .80 per foot.
June 9, 1916– A small lot on Middle Avenue formerly used for a fire house was sold to C.F. Henderson for $50.
July 7, 1916 – Director Kurtz reported the arrival of the Marquette Fire Truck for the Third Ward which was built by Richard D. Edwards in Atlantic City. (This was Millville’s second piece of motorized apparatus).
A communication from the fire
department inviting the city commissioners to accompany them to Wildwood, N.J.
for a parade on July 12, 1916 was accepted.
July 12, 1916 –
MILLVILLE FIREMEN TAKE PRIZE
At the fireman’s Day celebration at
Wildwood yesterday, Millville carried off one prize, a silver trumpet, for
making the best appearance.
Headed by the Millville Band, the
American La France chemical truck on which sat Commissioner of Public Safety,
Lewis E. Kurtz, looked as good if not better than any apparatus in the line of
parade. Then came the firemen led by Chief John Stevens and they looked fine in
their purple uniforms.
The Millville ambulance was there
with a couple of nurses, and a life net held by a half dozen little tots
dressed in white, attracted favorable comment.
The Millville delegation ended with
the fife and drum crops.
It was a fine representation from
this city and as a matter of advertisement and publicity, its worth cannot be
Dec. 6, 1916 – Ladies Auxiliary recognized by Resolution Hose Co.
Dec. 25, 1916 –
FIRE IN NEWPORT
With Howard Sooy driving, Chief John
Stevens, and eight other firemen clinging to the side and rear, Millville’s La
France Chemical truck raced to Newport early Christmas morning in response to
an S.O.S. call from the village by telephone, making the 14 mile trip in about
Newport was justly alarmed when a
fire was discovered in the magnificent residence of Clement Campbell, probably
the most pretentious home in the village, between 5 and 6 o’clock by milk man
The adjacent house owned by Squire
Compton was ignited several times and after it was seen that there was no
possibility of saving the Campbell home, the efforts of the Millville firemen
were concentrated on saving the Compton residence.
Dec. 29, 1916 – Fire department drivers Howard Sooy and Nate Garrison granted salary of $70 per month.
Jan. 3, 1917 – Company orders 100 certificates for exemption from jury duty and military service.
March 7, 1917 – Fire Company appoints committee in regard to securing call bells in firemen’s homes.
May 21, 1917 – Firemen make motion that the Ladies Auxiliary be asked to prepare supper for the firemen’s anniversary.
July 27, 1917 – Resolution No. 236 providing for the election of a superintendent of fire alarm apparatus was adopted and Jacob Straub is elected to the new position.
Oct. 5, 1917 – Company rules that all members who are called to go to war shall remain members of the company and that their dues be paid in full until they return.
Oct. 19, 1917 – A committee from the fire department composed of Firman Reeves and Albert Weber asked for the use of the storeroom in the rear of the building as a game room for the firemen.
Senator Firman Reeves, Chief 1924 – 1926 and first president of the Cumberland County Firemen’s Association, 1918. Paul Ludlam, Chief 1906 – 1916 and 1922 -1924 and Clad Silvers. (left to right) – James Owen collection.
Oct. 26, 1917 – On motion of Director Kurtz the
firemen were given the use of the room now used as a work shop by the engineer,
for a game room.
Mr. Bennett stated that members of
the fire department will do the necessary carpenter work to convert the barn
into a workshop without charge if the city will furnish material.
Nov. 7, 1917 – Director of Public Safety orders that the driver that is left in the firehouse, during a fire, shall call the chief, also the foreman of the of the Third Ward truck, in the daytime at Whitall Tatum Company and at night at their homes.
Jan. 11, 1918 – City Commission receives communication from the Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Company quoting prices for a striker attachment on Third Ward fire bell. Was read at the request of Director Bennett who gave an explanation of the necessity of such an installation, the probable cost of which would be about $500. On motion of Mr. Simmerman, Director Bennett was given power to act in the matter.
Mar. 1, 1918 – Director Bennett reported some difficulty with the engine in the La France fire truck. Manufacturer sent supplies to remedy defect.
Mar. 22, 1918 – Director Bennett reported that striker was being installed on Third Ward Fire House bell.
April 3, 1918 – Fire Company receives communication from the Vineland Fire Department asking this company join them in trying to organize a Cumberland County Firemen’s Association.
Apr. 20, 1918 – Company takes part in Liberty Loan Parade.
June 6, 1918 – County Firemen’s Association formed a Cumberland County Firemen’s Association. It was formed at the engine house of the Bridgeton Fire Department and Assemblyman Firman M. Reeves of Millville was made president.
Chief Wallace J. Frost of Vineland
was made first vice president, Chief Stevenson, the second vice president. Willis
Robbins of Port Norris, secretary and Chief George Kinkle was made Chief County
Louis G. Heller was appointed
chairman of a committee to draw up a constitution and by-laws.
June 28, 1918 – A communication to the commission from the drivers of the Fire Department requesting a salary increase to $20 per week was received.
Oct. 4, 1918 – Director Bennett introduced a delegation to the commission from the Resolution Hose Co. Hon. Firman M. Reeves acted as spokesman and stated the committee had been instructed to ask the commission to consider an increase in compensation to active members of the Fire Department. The active membership includes forty men and compensation of $5 per month, per member, is requested.
Nov. 1, 1918 – Frank Parker elected by commission, a superintendent of fire alarm system.
Nov. 8, 1918 – Frank Parker resigns.
Dec. 13, 1918 – George B. Shrider elected superintendent of the fire alarm system.
Jan. 3, 1919 – City Solicitor Miller spoke of a conference in his office with Director Bennett and Hon. Firman M. Reeves in reference to increasing the pay for firemen, but stated the powers of the board were restricted by the laws of the state and suggested the introduction of an amendment to the Law of 1905 which would permit the desired increase.
Jan. 10, 1919 – Fire truck drivers granted $20 weekly.
Jan. 24, 1919 – Director Bennett given authorization to purchase a fire alarm recorder for the Third Ward hose house.
Mar. 28, 1919 – Ordinance No. 175 providing for the issuing of bonds for the purchase of fire apparatus, for the City of Millville was adopted.
June 6, 1919 – Director Bennett recommended the appointment of the following fire policemen, without pay from the city, John Dunham, Leslie Smith, James Downs, Frank Parker, Chas. Rodel and Frank Bullock.
Mayor Whitaker announced the arrival of time for opening bids for fire apparatus as advertised.
Hose And Chemical Truck
|Richard G. Edwards
Atlantic City, N.J.
|Selden Phila. Sales
|Lippencott Motor Co.
|Combination Ladder Co.
New York, N.Y.
|Packard Motor Car Co.
|American La France Fire |Engine Co.
New York, N.Y.
The proposal of Richard G. Edwards includes an allowance of $750 for the old Marquette Chemical and hose truck.
High Street Parade, going North between Vine and Oak Streets, July 4, 1919.
James Owen collection.
July 4, 1919 –
Millville Celebrated July 4th
on Elaborate Scale
More stupendous and superior in
every respect than ever before attempted, was yesterday’s Fourth of July
Millville quite outdid herself
despite the torrid heat, as thousands of people from the surrounding towns
spent the day in this city.
It was the biggest day Millville has
ever had. In the morning the streets were lined with people who viewed the
magnificent parade and in the afternoon these same people and many more
journeyed to Union Lake Park.
The great crowd filled the pleasure
resort to overflowing. Never before has there been such a gathering there. They
came on foot, they came in automobiles and on trolley cars. It was easier
getting there than getting away and it was not until after midnight that the
cars finally brought the last load away.
The parade got away a few minutes
after the appointed time, being led by Assemblyman Firman Reeves as Marshall.
Then came the members of the City Commission and General Committee, attired in
white trousers, blue coats and straw hats.
Continuation of July 4, 1919
The Masons, ninety strong, led by
the South Millville Fife and Drum Corps, presented a neat appearance.
Then came the G.A.R. veterans and
the Ladies of the F and L Circle. They were in automobile trucks.
The Liberty Band of Camden led the
service men. Captain Howard Shaw, erect in stature, at the head.
A Camden Band led the Millville and
Vineland Firemen, all attired in their natty uniforms. Next came the Company D
New Jersey State Militia with First Lieut. Warren W. Oley in command.
The Jennings Band was next, followed
by the Jr. O.U.A.M. Guards.
Robert Gillespie and the St. Francis
Xavier’s Boys Band of fifty pieces led the Millville Lodge of Elks who wore
white trousers, white shirts, purple ties, white felt hats and carried red,
white and blue umbrellas.
The Bridgeton City Band was with the
Tuscola Tribe of Red Men and then came the members of the Millville Aerie 1836
F.O.E. with the Highland Band.
The First Methodist Protestant
Church was represented by a float and marching delegation and the St. Mary’s
Church and just behind them the Millville Band. Then came the Second M.E.
Church members with their various departments, campfire girls.
The Quaker City Band of Women made a
big hit as they marched ahead of the First M.E. Church delegation.
The members of the church turned out
in great numbers and especially noticeable were the young ladies who were
prettily dressed in red and white and purple and white.
The First Baptist and West Side
churches were next represented by a good sized delegation, the latter having a
float showing a soldier who had just returned, being greeted by mother and
The Collingswood Band was next and
then members of the Trinity M.E. Church. The Boy Scouts of Bridgeton and
Millville were well represented.
The Daughters of Liberty had several
attractive floats at this end of the parade.
There were many things going on at
the park all afternoon and evening. There were bands laying and concerts
running continuously. There was a community sing led by Lewis Richards, an
oration by United States Senator James of Indiana.
There were airplane thrills, a
baseball game and a touching memorial service to honor Millville’s dead heroes
near the close of the afternoon.
Yes, it was one wonderful day for
Millville and it was in honor of those several hundred young men who were in
their country’s service.
July 11, 1919 – Director Bennett moved that the contract be awarded the Mack International Motor Co., of Phila., Pa., for one hook and ladder fire truck and combination chemical and hose truck in conformity with their proposal submitted to the Board, June 6, 1919.
Director Kates stated his personal
choice would be for another make of truck, but that Director Bennett was
responsible for the Fire Department and he would yield to Mr. Bennett’s
Director Simmerman stated that he
had made a careful investigation of the merits of the various trucks and
considered the White Truck the most desirable. Director Bennett’s motion prevailed.
Sept. 26, 1919 – Director Bennett reported being in receipt of information from Mack International Motor Company giving the length of the two new fire trucks and suggested that changes would be necessary at the rear of the city hall, fire house and also the doorway at Diligence Hall.
Nov. 5, 1919 – Millville Fire Department members donate $100 toward cost of monument at state Fireman’s Home in Boonton, N.J., honoring Bird W. Spencer, President of State Association.
Jan. 2, 1920 – City receives communication – drivers, Nathan Garrison and Howard Sooy are requesting an increase in salary to $25 per work.
1920 Mack hose truck. Wm. Carey, driver.
From the Dale Wettstein collection.
Jan. 30, 1920 – Director Bennett reported the arrival of the two new Mack fire trucks for the Fire Department and stated they had both been given thorough tests and found satisfactory. Mr. John Fisher, on behalf of the Maurice River Transportation Co., and the Mack International Motor Co., thanked the board for the purchase of the trucks through the local agency. Cost $11,350.
1920 Mack ladder truck.
Dale Wettstein collection photo.
Apr. 1, 1920 – John Stevens receives $100 annual
salary as Fire Marshall.
Apr. 9, 1920 – Rev. Christian Ernst addressed the board and expressed thanks for the use of the West side Fire House by the West Side M.E. Church for the last three years.
May 7, 1920 – On motion of Director Kates, the appointment of Grover Wolverton as District Fire Warden was confirmed.
June 4, 1920 – Director Bennett reported having the old horse drawn hook and ladder wagon repaired so it can now be used as a trailer and supplement the motor driven equipment.
June 11, 1920 – Director Bennett spoke of numerous repairs wanted on the La France Fire Truck.
June 18, 1920 – Director Bennett spoke of the desirability of having a pulmotor placed in the Fire Department for use in emergencies such as drownings.
He moved that the city purchase one
Atmos Pulmotor at cost of $275.
Aug. 17, 1920 –
Bridgeton Houses New Stutz Pumper
With bands playing, flags flying, sirens sounding, red fire
glowing and an escort of city officials and representatives of nearly a dozen
fire departments, the handsome new Stutz Pumping Engine was introduced to the
people of Bridgeton.
James R. Cheeseman, a sturdy veteran of the Civil War, led
off with the glorious stars and stripes.
Mayor Arthur C. Whitaker drove his own car and with him were
Commissioner of Public Safety, Morris Davis and Chief George Kinkle.
Councilman William T. Laning drove his automobile and with
him other members of City Council, President John S. Hann, Henry A. Hettinger,
Charles H. Maler and John H. Evans.
Commissioner of Public Works, W. Dayton Fredrick,
Commissioner of Streets and Roads, A.H. Lupton, City Comptroller, Samuel P.
Fithian and City Clerk, Charles P. Corey, followed by a Dort car furnished by
McBride and Broomall.
The Millville Fire Department was very good and strong with
about thirty men, the Millville Troop No. 5 Boy Scout Band and two pieces of
apparatus, a chemical engine and a hook and ladder truck. The men made a good
appearance in their natty uniforms of garnet.
Vineland Fire Department was represented by about twenty four
men and they had their Seagrave Pumper painted in green with special
decorations of grapes and a picture of the oldest house in Vineland.
James Neal, long a driver in the Bridgeton Department, drove
the Silsby Steamer and the contrast was marked between this horse drawn
apparatus and the new motor driven apparatus.
A delegation represented the Exempt Fireman’s Association and
then the City Concert Band of Bridgeton headed the Bridgeton apparatus. J. Elmo
Loper drove the La France Steamer, Elvin Kates the hook and ladder truck,
Leland Laning and George Facemire the two chemical engines and Furman Mulford
the new Stutz Pumper.
A large number visited the Engine House and were surprised to
see the completeness of everything.
Dec. 10, 1920 – Director Bennett stated that T.C.
Wheaton wished to install a fire alarm box at their plant.
Jan. 28, 1921– Director Bennett spoke of the
desirability of placing a siren on the tower of the fire house in order that
the firemen can be reached when needed.
Mar. 4, 1921 – Director Bennett reported having
made a careful investigation in reference to locating a siren on City Hall
Tower and asked authority to purchase siren from Federal Siren Co., for $423.
Mar. 24, 1921 – Mr. Bennett was instructed to
investigate the appliances for recharging batteries on fire trucks and to purchase
Oct. 5, 1921 – Harry “Tabby” Cossaboon replaced
Nate Garrison (deceased) as driver at $23 per week.
Jan. 6, 1922 –A communication from Resolution
Hose Company requesting payment of five dollars per month to active members,
was read by the City Clerk. Several members of the Fire Department were present
and Joseph Chamberland, a member of the committee, stated that active members
of the Fire Department think they deserve this consideration.
Feb. 1, 1922 – Compensation raised to $5 per
month. 50% attendance required for eligibility.
Mar. 1, 1922 – Paul Ludlam elected Chief.
Mar.3, 1922 – Mayor Felmey stated the following
had been appointed special policemen for the Fire Department upon the
recommendation of Director La Dow – Joseph Chamberland, Thomas Corson, Grover
Wolverton, John Dunham, Ovid Hay and Frank Bullock.
Mar. 26, 1922 – Director La Dow reported the first
quarterly payment for the Millville Fire Department is now due and all members had
attended at least fifty percent of the fires except two who have been unable to
attend due to sickness.
May 26, 1922 – George Schrider appointed Superintendent
of the Fire Alarm System.
Firman Reeves named to Board of Managers to the Fireman’s
Home in Boonton, N.J.
Director La Dow spoke of the advisability of making a change
in battery equipment for the Fire Alarm System and presented a proposal from
the Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegram Co., offering to make necessary improvements
A call bell to summon firemen to report to the house in case
of fire was installed in the Levoy Theatre.
June 19, 1922 – Fire Department selects fawn color
for new dress uniforms. Harry Schaffer awarded the uniform bid.
May 4, 1923 –
South Millville Works
Whitall Tatum Company in South Millville, looking north, as it appeared before the great fire of May 4, 1923.
Photo from Mary Emma Mulford collection.
Shrieking briefly, the big siren at the South Millville Works
of Whitall Tatum Co., which failed to operate properly, gave the opening alarm
last night of one of the most disastrous conflagrations to ever visit
Millville, burning to the ground four glass factories, igniting dwellings and
threatening to destroy large packing houses and other buildings including in
the holdings of the company in the southern section of the city.
Immediately following the blast of the whistle, Box 27 was
pulled. The city siren and bells gave the general alarm and all available apparatus
was rushed to the scene.
Before firemen could arrive, the flames were leaping high
into the air and the reflection of the fire could be seen for miles. The frame
structures all joined together, making ready fuel for the flames which gained
great proportions from the start despite the streams of water used by the Fire
Department of the glass company. The fire was first discovered near the front
of the lehr of Factory No. 12 which was one of the two tanks being operated,
the other which was in use being No. 10.
The shearers with the company’s department soon found that
the fire was beyond their control and called for assistance of the city
fighters. A half dozen streams of water were used on the factories in an effort
to keep the fire confined between Tanks 11 and 12, but the flames having gained
great headway, enveloped the big building and the water seemed to have no
effect whatever upon it. Three dwellings belonging to the company on Second
Street were ignited by flying sparks but were not seriously damaged, one of the
streams having been devoted to saving the properties.
The high frame structures, all ablaze at one time, made a
rare spectacle and several thousand persons viewed the blaze from both inside
and outside the yard.
The firemen, both of the city and company, assisted by others
who were not members, worked heroically, and several were cut by flying glass,
painfully burned, or overcome by smoke. Dr. Frank R. Sheppard, company
physician, established a clinic in one of the convenient buildings out of the
path of the sweeping flames. Between the lehrs of the factories and one of the
largest packing houses of the company, which adjoins the lehrs to the westward,
had been erected a huge fire wall extending a few feet above the roof over the
lehrs. The fireproof doors, having been closed, prevented the fire from
igniting the building, despite the fact it burned with furnace like heat
against the wall and enveloped it.
The factories totally destroyed were all tanks, including
Number 9 which was recently put out of blast pending repairs. Nos. 10 and 12
which were in daily operation and No. 11, a fine modern tank which was new and
not quite finished were also destroyed. It is thought likely that some of the
tanks in the factories have not been ruined and may be used under temporary
roofs. It is reported corrugated iron coverings have been contemplated for some
In former fires where the buildings have been burned all
about the tanks, tanks themselves have been left intact.
Just what the damage will be cannot at this time be
definitely determined, but officials of the company believe it will be
approximately $100.000. This is partially covered by insurance. At midnight it
was thought that the blaze was almost entirely under control, but the firemen
remained until the fire was completely extinguished. The City Department used
about 3000 feet of hose.
It is estimated today that there will be upwards of 300
employees out of temporarily, but it was reported that Pot Furnace No. 5 would
be started as soon as it could be put in readiness, which will be on or about
Monday, May 21. This will give a number of those employees work again. The
company has plenty of orders which must be filled before the close of the
Among those treated by Dr. Sheppard at the clinic which was
established in the Mold Department, were Officer Leon Whilden who was badly cut
about the hands by glass while directing a stream from the east side of the
factories when they resembled a roaring furnace, Jacob Green cut fingers, Lewis
Ferguson burned foot, Fred Roedel overcome by smoke, William Hoffman hand cut,
Nathaniel Green, Frank O’Donnell, Frank Mingin and Melvin Morris all slightly
Efforts of the firemen were directed by Fire Chief, Paul
George S. Bacon, General Manager, was at the scene of the destruction
a few minutes following the single weird screech of the South Millville
whistle. He directed the attack of the firemen in certain parts of the yard and
came out of the yard drenched to the skin, as were most of the firefighters who
worked faithfully for three hours, conquering the most destructive
conflagration Millville ever had.
July 21, 1923 –
Five fire companies helped
Cedarville celebrate the arrival of their new chemical engine with a parade
headed by Trop 5 Boy Scout Band from Millville.
The Millville Department with the La
France Engine and the Mack hook and ladder truck, led the pageant.
Following were Chief Kinkle and
sixteen men and the Silsby steamer from Bridgeton, twenty one members of the
Woodstown Department attired in white uniforms and their brand new pumper and
the Port Norris Department with its new chemical engine ended the parade.
The firemen then assembled in front of the fire ho The Millville use where addresses were made by Sheriff Flagg of Burlington County and by Senator Firman Reeves of Millville. The Millville City Band furnished music for the evening celebration.
Millville Fire Department photo 1923 circa.
Front Row left to right – Frank Bullock, Ed Peterson, Andy Bittle, Grover Wolverton, Furman Wolverton (Mascot), Charlie Cox, John Stevens, Fred Roedel. Second row, left to right – Les Smith, James Kiley, Firm Reeves, Albert Weber, Earl Bittle, Fred Adams, Elison Kirby, Clarence Silvers, Paul Ludlam, Richard Carey, Frank Parker, Ovid Hay, Oscar Weber, Walter Kates, George Penn – The two drivers are believed to be Howard Sooy and Harry Cossaboon. Three men on apparatus – left William Weber – center Clarence Felmey – right James Downs.
Photo from Millville Fire Department Archives.
July 23, 1923 – Fire destroyed the entire
establishment of Isaac Serta and Sons, coal and grain dealers at Broad and
water Streets Bridgeton with a loss of $200,000.
The Millville Fire Department was called to assist the Bridgeton
firemen, streaking across the pike in sixteen minutes, pulling into the fire
area amidst the cheers of excited bystanders.
Nov.25, 1923 –
Illinois Glass, Bridgeton
fury by a high wind and greatly aided at the start by a large quantity of oil,
which caused dense clouds of smoke, one of the most disastrous fires in the
history of Bridgeton, destroyed one of the largest continuous glass tanks in
South Jersey at a lost estimated at $250,000.
Realizing the danger of the flames spreading to nearby
buildings, the telephone girl called for aid from both Millville and Vineland.
The factory was completely destroyed. Only charred portions
of the walls of the frame structure remained.
A big auto bus driven by a Mr. Russell, going toward the fire ahead of the Millville engine in Bridgeton, failed to obey the signal of the siren to stop and wait for the apparatus to pass and was lifted clear off the road and thrown over to one side by the hub of the Millville machine. Driver Howard Sooy said the man paid no attention to the siren and it was a question of who should have the road.
Jan. 2 1925, Walter Owen (shown here) appears before Millville City Commission to stress the need for a pumper. Owen was later elected chief on March 3, 1926. Collection of James Owen.
Jan. 2, 1925 –
Firemen seek pumper and better
equipment for work
Millville firemen have inaugurated a
determined effort to secure new and better equipment for the local department
which they claim is absolutely necessary to successfully cope with a serious
blaze which may at any time occur in the city.
They have been requesting additional
apparatus for some time past and at a conference some time ago, they asked the
City Commission for a pumper. They were told to furnish data showing that the
present fire hydrants in Millville would be suitable for a pumper, and also
conduct a test of the water supply to show that the pumper could be
successfully utilized in case of an emergency. That was the last definite
action taken and the matter was allowed to sleep until yesterday afternoon when
a delegation appeared before the Board.
Senator Firman M. Reeves was
expected to present the matter as Chief of the department, but was unavoidably
absent, so Walter Owen was delegated to lay the matter before the Commission.
Other firemen in the audience were
John Dunham, James Downs, Charles Cox, Thomas Corson and Grover Wolverton.
Mr. Owen spoke concisely and to the
point and showed the advantages which the firemen asked.
He said that Millville is growing every
day and was of the belief that both the citizens and the commissioners realized
that new equipment is essential for the best service and that the city is at
the present time, far behind the times.
He called attention to the fact that
Millville has the best of firefighters and that they are as deserving as other
Mr. Owen continued by stating just
what the firemen have at the present time, and asked that the commission
consider the new equipment needed when they settle on the budget. He also noted
that during the past year, Bridgeton had expended $30,000 and Vineland $15,000
on improved apparatus.
He showed the difference between the
status of Millville’s Department, and thought it should at least have a pumper.
He suggested that the commissioners and the firemen have a conference to
discuss the matter in detail, and asked the Board to make some expression at
the present time to show how they felt. He expressed the belief that better
equipment would greatly reduce the insurance rate,
Mayor Felmey said that it was
possible to arrange a meeting and suggested that it be held soon. It was stated
however, that money for special equipment would not be included in the
appropriations of the budget but funds would be supplied by means of a bond
The Mayor thought it questionable if
the city had sufficient fire plugs of the proper type to use a pumper, or water
to feed such a piece of apparatus if it were provided, and thought it too
expensive a proposition if it were necessary to change the plugs. In reply, the
firemen said that at Bridgeton it was shown when Millville was called to assist
in fighting a fire some time ago, reduction couplings were all that was
necessary to connect the pumper.
Director LaDow said that the
American LaFrance truck had become a big bill of expense to the city, and that
about $800 had been spent on it during the past year.
He thought that it would be
advisable to trade the truck in at an early date whether or not a pumper is
It was suggested and seemed to be
the opinion of both the board and the firemen that a small chemical truck
should be provided for country fires, as the apparatus was greatly damaged by
making fast time over the rough roads in the outlying districts.
It was said Bridgeton had one and
Vineland had two pumpers at the present time. It was also shown that with one
engine undergoing repairs and the other out in the country on Bridgeton Pike,
but within the city limits, there was no reserve protection if a fire were to
break out in Millville.
It was suggested that the Vineland firemen be requested to
come to Millville and give a demonstration with their pumper.
The thoughts of the commissioners relative to a pumper are
not in the least in harmony and one of the members is inalterably opposed to
the purchase of a pumper, believing that with two water companies the water
supply is adequate and of sufficient force to cope with any fire which may
occur. He said that pumpers in other cities were perhaps essential for the best
protection where there is less protection afforded by the water supply.
Others expressions heard were favorable to better equipment
but there were none who could be placed on record as favorable to a pumper at
the present time.
Jan. 6, 1925 – Vineland Fire Department
Through the kindness of the Reliance Fire Company of Vineland
and Mayor F. Koetz, the fine American LaFrance pumper of that department was
brought to Millville last night and a thorough demonstration of what can be
done by the machine was given. The city commission and the Millville fire
ladies were shown that the fire plugs of both the Millville Water Company and
City Water Company were suitable for the connections and the supply of water on
both lines is fully adequate to furnish the big streams thrown by the pumper
turned up to more than 100 pounds pressure.
The first demonstration was given before a large crowd at the
corner of Second and Sassafras Street and two streams were thrown from each of
the two plugs. From the outset it was shown conclusively what a wonderful
advantage the pumper would be in case of a bad fire such as Bridgeton has had
thrice during the past year when their pumper was perhaps the thing that saved
a good portion of the business district from being wiped out.
Under about 100 pounds pressure, two streams were thrown
Southward on Second Street, a distance of 154 feet, there being approximately
250 gallons of water per minute from each of the nozzles or a total of 500
gallons. When shot up into the air, the water reached an altitude which was
higher than any building in Millville.
The stream at its height was shown to good advantage by the
use of searchlights.
A joint conference between the Millville firemen and the city
commission was held later in the evening.
The firemen felt that to do the most efficient work, as they
have always done in the past, they must be fully equipped.
It was stated by one of the leaders of the company after the
session that it was apparent that the majority of the members of the city
commission are favorable to the purchase of a pumper but the commission was not
unanimous on their decision.
A pumper of the improved type, the new model of the American
LaFrance, being a little closer to the ground than that of
the Vineland Company, will cost approximately $15,000.
The city commission and firemen desire to extend thanks to the Reliance Company and Mayor F. Koetz of Vineland for the demonstration, which clears up the point as to whether or not the Millville Water Companies’ fire plugs are suitable for a pumper.
Fire Hydrant of the type in service in Millville 1925 period. Possibly cast in R.D. Wood’s Millville foundry.
Jan. 23, 1925 – A proposed ordinance providing for
the acquisition of new fire apparatus for the city of Millville was introduced.
Mar. 3, 1925 – On motion director LaDow was
authorized to advertise for bids for one triple combination pumper, chemical
and hose truck and one four tank sixty gallon chemical truck as provided for in
ordinance no. 262.
Mar. 20, 1925 – Proposals were received from
American LaFrance Fire Engine Company and the Seagrave Corp.
Director LaDow moved that contact be awarded to American
Apr. 3, 1925 – Howard Sooy, fire truck driver,
passes away and Garfield Zimmerman is elected as replacement.
Apr. 9, 1925 – A delegation from the Resolution
Hose Company was present and Senator Reeves, acting as spokesman, stated that
the department would like an appropriation of about $2500 to cover the expense
of a housing day celebration during the month of June when the new apparatus
arrives. Walter Owen spoke briefly in reference to the project.
Director LaDow stated that every member of the commission
favors a housing celebration but considers the raising of the money for this
purpose quite a serious problem.
Apr. 17, 1925 – Director LaDow stated that the
board had conferred with the solicitor in reference to the firemen’s housing
celebration as requested last week and were informed that it would be illegal
to deplete a regular appropriation for an event of this sort.
Mr. LaDow stated that the board would be willing to make a
reasonable contribution to any subscription that might be started for this
May 22, 1925 – The commissioners granted the
request of the fire department to designate May 29 & 30 as tag day.
June 9, 1925 –
Wheaton Factories 3, 4 and 5 Completely Destroyed
In one of the most disastrous fires in the history of
Millville the factory buildings of the T.C. Wheaton Glass Company were
completely destroyed by fire early this morning.
For over an hour the fire raged through the main structure
before it was controlled by the entire fire fighting forces of the city
augmented by the new American LaFrance pumper which had not yet been accepted
by the city commissioners.
At about 1:45 a.m. the fire was discovered by police officer
Richard Haines, Nick Torelli and James Kyle who were driving about the city
checking up on the movements of late home-goers and an alarm was turned in from
Wheaton Ave. and D Street. Efforts of firemen to check the blaze in the packing
room were abandoned to save nearby waresheds. Heroic work saved a major part of
the plant’s buildings although the workers were seriously hampered by the low
pressure before the arrival of the pumper. Officials were loud in their praise
of Mr. Wolfson, a representative of the American LaFrance Company, who arose
from his bed in a local hotel and raced to the scene with the new pumper which
will be housed June 27. Wolfson responded to the call and quickly had the
pumper in action. Too much praise cannot be offered its behavior “under fire.”
Reflection of the flames in the sky was seen for miles and a large number of
out of town people joined the thousands that crowded the streets until the destroyed
buildings collapsed into a mass of twisted iron and steel. Police lines were
drawn to keep the crowds from the yard and from hampering the work of the
The estimated loss is $40,000 and is partially covered by
insurance, the plant officials said. While a slight delay in shipments will be
necessary, the company will have the plant working on full schedule within a
comparatively short time owing to the fact the new pot furnace is ready to
Night watchman, Reed, and a crew of six men battled with the
flames prior to the arrival of the fire department but were seriously
handicapped by the heat they had to endure trying to check the spread of the
flames toward the warehouses.
John Riley of South Second Street was slightly injured about
the hands when a huge piece of iron struck him shortly after the blaze had been
No damage was suffered in the mold rooms which adjoin the
destroyed buildings but for a time it appeared that little would be saved owing
to a lack of water and the condition of no. 1 hose truck which broke down near
Second and Vine Streets.
Seriously handicapped, the third ward department battled the
march of the flames but the firemen were forced to leave the roof of the
adjoining wareshed. The flames leaped across the alleyway but were stopped
before they had eaten their way into the large warehouse packed with finished
Using empty cases as shields, the firemen neared the blaze
and quickly extinguished it. Little effort was made to save the main structure
when it was apparently doomed.
Just how the blaze originated is undetermined by the
company’s officials as it was discovered near a furnace which had just been
extinguished a short time ago. The destroyed structure stood on the site of the
Wheaton plant which was destroyed about twelve years ago and it was hinted by the
officials that a more modern plant would be constructed in its place. The
structure was covered by sheet metal which added to the extreme heat while the
interior was a blazing furnace. Firemen remained on the scene for hours after
it was completely under control. The plant is at a standstill today but will
get underway again tomorrow following the company’s adjustments.
It is said this morning that officials of the fire department
are concerned over the reported low water pressure prior to the arrival of the
Upon its arrival, the pumper was attached to the municipal
water plug on North Third Street owing to the low pressure of the plug.
It was stated by officials of the Millville Water Company
today that a forty pound pressure was registered at their plant during the
The fire, when discovered, had just broken through the
shutters in the pot furnace building and before any water could be thrown on
the flaming building from the lines, another building housing the no. 4 and no.
5 furnaces caught and was quickly enveloped by the raging flames which
threatened to creep through the entire row of buildings in the spacious yards.
Hampered by low water pressure, the firemen fought every
advance of the blaze while waiting the arrival of help.
Eating its way into the batch house and packing rooms, the
blazing furnace threatened to drive the men from the yards with the terrific
When the new pumper arrived, the fire was quickly checked and
the danger of it spreading to other buildings was over.
After the terrific heat had abated, the firemen turned their attention
to drowning out the burning embers which were scattered about the yards.
Little damage was done to one of the warehouses but none of
the finished product was damaged.
Nearly two hundred employees will be thrown out of work
temporarily but some will be given employment cleaning up the debris the latter
part of this week.
A new pot furnace just south of the destroyed structure has
just been completed and fires will be lighted under it today. Frank Wheaton
stated last night at the scene, “Practically all employees will be returned to
work within a few days and they will feel only a slight loss as a result of this
In the absence of fire chief Firman M. Reeves, who is in the
Millville Hospital recovering from an operation, assistant chiefs Walter Owen
and Tom Corson had control of the work and much credit must be given the
firemen who worked tirelessly in the battle with the flames.
It was long after daylight when the firemen and the pumper
left the scene
It was explained that a defective switch caused the old
chemical truck to quit on the way to the fire. At the last fire Saturday night
driver Harry Cossaboon was delayed fifteen minutes when the apparatus could not
be moved from the City Hall Department. Garfield Zimmerman was the driver this
morning when the apparatus failed on the way to the fire.
Fortunately no wind was blowing or the loss would have been greater.
1925 American LaFrance pumper credited with saving the T.C. Wheaton Glass factory on June 9, 1925. Seen here are driver Tabby Cossaboon, Director Public Safety Samuel Bennett, Walter Owen, Grover Wolverton and Oscar Weber. This piece is currently owned by the Millville Fire Department as an antique piece of equipment.
June 12, 1925 – Walter Owen appearing before the
board in behalf of the fire department asked for a donation to help defray the
cost of their housing celebration to be held June 27. He said they had raised
$1800 through their own efforts.
On motion of director Bennett a donation of $500 was given.
Resolution passed that the new fire apparatus be accepted and
that $22,500 be paid and the old 1915 American LaFrance be given in trade as
specified in the contract.
June 19, 1925 – Director Bennett was authorized to obtain plans and specifications with an estimate of the cost for alterations to Diligence Hall to properly house two pieces of fire apparatus.
1925 Chemical engine. Housed June 27, 1925. L-R Driver Dutch Zimmerman, Comm. Augustus LaDow, Grover Wolverton, Oscar Weber and Walter Owen.
June 27, 1925 –
Millville Houses New Trucks
While thousands of people lined the gaily decorated streets,
twenty two companies with eleven bands and a formidable array of firefighting
equipment, marched Saturday in one of the greatest spectacles ever witnessed in
this section of the state staged by firemen.
Colonel Edward H. Stokes, with his aides, headed the parade,
closely followed by the bugle corps from Cape May Boy Scouts.
The following companies followed in order with their bands
and equipment: Wildwood, No. Wildwood, Shiloh, Monroeville, So. Vineland,
Salem, Dupont Dye Works, Cape May, Cedarville, Ventnor, Roadstown, Bridgeton,
Seabrook Farms, Penns Grove, Woodbine, Woodbury, Westville, Vineland, Merchantville,
Hammonton, Pleasantville and Millville.
As the marchers filed past the judges, Ross B. Davis, fire
chief of Philadelphia, fire marshall William Wilkins of Philadelphia, fire
captain John Wilson of Atlantic City, Arthur Henson of Mauricetown, Raymond
Henderson of Port Elizabeth, Walter Jones, William Buell, Ambrose Stites,
Lawrence Bacon, Emil J. Fath and Charles Travers, the apparatus and marchers
were closely inspected for the final awards made at the fire house immediately
following the parade.
The awards: Best Equipped Company – Woodbury; second –
Vineland; Best Equipped Small Company with four tank chemical truck –
Hammonton; second – Cedarville; third – Roadstown, Best Band – Lyric Band,
Woodbury; second – Red, White and Blue Band, Vineland; Company with Largest
Number of Uniformed Men – Salem; second – Wildwood; Company Coming Longest
Distance – Cape May; Best Appearance Overall – Woodbury; second Penns Grove;
Shortest Fireman – Joseph Bailey, Westville; Tallest Fireman – Jacob Scherer,
Salem and Marvin Mick, Merchantville; Fattest Fireman – Howard Turpin, Du Pont;
Oldest Fireman, David Smalley, Salem.
Senator-Fire Chief Firman M. Reeves, Millville, made his
first public appearance since his recent operation and was received with cheers
all along the line of march.
South Vineland Company was called from the line of march to put out a blaze in a home shortly after two o’clock.
Ahrens-Fox pumper from Woodbury, N.J., is seen passing William Brown’s blacksmith shop on Broad Street during June 27, 1925 housing celebration. Dale Wettstein collection. (2018 building an auto repair shop across from Church St.)
Aug. 7, 1925 – Plans foe altering Diligence Hall
to house hose truck and hook and ladder truck were received. Work completed
Dec. 4, 1925.
Nov. 10, 1925 –
Wright’s Dairy Damaged
Fire believed to be of incendiary origin destroyed four auto
trucks and badly damaged the garage at Wright’s Sanitary Dairy. Upon arrival of
the firemen the building was a mass of flames and it was only by quick action
that the stables and wagon sheds were saved from destruction.
Shortly before 7 o’clock in the evening the fire was
discovered by a neighbor. Her shouts attracted the attention of Hillis Fox who
turned in the alarm.
Grover Wolverton, a fireman, was badly injured when he fell
into a repair pit. Also injured was Fred Adams, another fireman, who was badly
burned around the hands.