History of the Finderne Fire Department as printed for the 25th Anniversary in 1969.
Twenty-five years ago a group of men, members of the Civilian Defense Corps in Finderne, conceived the idea of forming a fire company. After long hours of discussion, it was decided that such an organization would indeed be very valuable asset to the Finderne Community.
The first meeting of what was to become the Finderne Fire Department was held at the Finderne Reformed Church, Bridgewater Avenue, Township of Bridgewater, New Jersey, on Thursday, January 13, 1944. Called to order by the late Rev. Frederick M. Leonard, Mr. Frank Riha chaired the meeting that evening. At that time the following officers were elected:
President & Trustee - Frank Riha
Secretary & Trustee - Raymond Balliet
Treasurer & Trustee - Edward P. Harris
Trustee - Jackson Porter
Trustee - Anthony J. Bendetti
At the next meeting, held on February 8, 1944, Mr. William Miller was elected to the office of Vice President.
A Charter in the name of "Finderne Engine Company No.1" was presented by the late Judge Frederick A. Pope and signed in the Finderne Reformed Church on March 14, 1944. The first meeting of the Finderne Fire Department as a corporation was held on April 11, 1944, at the Finderne Church Chapel.
With the organization now in proper working condition, a special meeting was called on May 22, 1944, to discuss the purchase of a fire truck. Through the kindness of Judge Frederick A. Pope, who loaned the Company $625, it was possible to buy the company's first piece of apparatus - a Waterous Fire Truck - from the South Bound Brook Fire Company.
Since the truck was not brand new some repairs were in order. On June 13, 1944, Mr. Edward Harris secured permission to take the truck to Calco (now American Cyanamid) to have the necessary work completed. This consisted of some changes in the body and chassis and a new paint job. The company was now on its way.
On Tuesday, July 25, 1944, a special meeting took place for the election of fire officers. The following men were voted into office:
Chief - James W. Dobson
Assistant Chief - Frank R. Olszewski
Captain - Michael Banks
Lieutenant - Frank Gabrielski
Chief Engineer - Steven Turiak
Ass't. Engineer - Joseph Hough
Chaplain - Rev. F.M. Leonard
With all the officers now duly installed, a place to house the fire equipment was needed. September 12, 1944, was the date that the company moved into its first quarters. Through the courtesy of Michael Banks, Sr., a garage in the rear of the Banks' home on East Main Street opposite Manville Boulevard in Finderne, was converted to serve as a firehouse.
The company's first siren was purchased from the Peapack Fire Company on November 14, 1944, for thirty-five dollars.
In less than a year the department had made significant progress. A debt of gratitude is due Mrs. Micheal Banks, Jr., who received all fire calls and sounded the siren until the time that a more appropriate firehouse could be built with a new alarm system installed.
In November of 1945, a tract of land located on the southeast corner of East Main Street and Ramsey Street was selected as a site for the new firehouse and was purchased from the Greasheimer Estates.
With the organization's growth continuing, a used La France fire truck was presented to the Finderne Fire Company on behalf of the Johns-Manville Company. This took place April 9, 1946, with J-M's Plant Manager, John Bergert, making the presentation.
On March 9, 1948, a 1924 Maxim truck was purchased from the North Plainfield Fire Department for $200.00. A Ford truck was also purchased in the same year. At this time the La France was disposed of and the old Waterous was sold for $160.
On June 14, 1949, a building contact for the new firehouse was awarded to Mr. Herbert Savidge, Sr., Ground was broken on June 21, and construction was started on July 1, 1949.
We are indebted to the following for their help at that time:
North Jersey Quarry Company
Elmer Schaal Company
American Cyanamid Company
The fire company held its first meeting in the new firehouse on January 25, 1950.
As a tribute to the men and women of the Finderne area who served in the Armed Forces, a memorial stone with a bronze plaque was dedicated on May 30, 1952. The stone, placed in front of the firehouse by the firemen, weighs approximately one and one-half tons. Left in its natural rough finish as a true product of this area, it was donated by the Chimney Rock Quarry. The Bronze plaque was donated by the Grimm's Foundry and landscaping around the monument was a contribution of the Finderne Sod Company and the Finderne Nursery.
Formal dedication of the Finderne Firehouse, together with the burning of the mortgage by Mrs. Rose Derry, President of the Ladies' Auxiliary and Mr. Frank R. Olszewski, President of the Fire Company, were a part of the organization's 10th Anniversary Celebration on March 14, 1954. Mayor Arthur Tuttle cut the ribbon officially opening the firehouse. Also participating in the ceremonies were Rev. Frederick Leonard and Rev. Michael Kseniak.
The Fire Company came truly into its own on December 12, 1955, when Chief William C. Miller and President Frank R. Olszewski received the ignition keys for the new 750-gallon Ward-La France Pumper truck from Richard M. Parkhurst of Dunellen.
On February 24, 1961, the Department added to their equipment a 750 G.P.M. Maxim Pumper.
Still growing, a 500 G.P.M. Hahn Pumper with 250-gallon booster tank was purchased in November of 1962.
On August 2, 1964, another piece of equipment, a 1,000 G.P.M. Maxim Pumper was added.
In December, 1966, the Company purchased a Chevrolet panel truck to be used for carrying additional equipment.
A Plectron home radio system for alerting the fireman was purchased in April of 1967.
To keep up with the constantly expanding Department, a 20-by-80-foot addition to the firehouse was begun on May 9, 1967. This portion of the building was to eventually house the company's most recent purchase, the Snorkel truck.
On Monday, October 21, 1968, the Department accepted delivery of the Snorkel. This truck has a Hahn chassis on which is mounted on a 75-foot snorkel. This apparatus carries 208 feet of ground ladders and has a 3,000-watt generator.
Built by the Snorkel Fire Equipment Company in St. Joseph, Missouri, the unit can displace 1,100 gallons of the water per minute. The platform has a payload of 850 pounds and a pre-installed fresh air system can feed fresh air to a nozzleman working over any type of smoke or fumes for as long as eight hours. Two fog nozzles are also operative by foot control from the platform.
The Department considers snorkel equipment a must because of the large industrial areas it must protect.
Finderne's Fire Department is an almost completely independent volunteer organization. Its main sources of income are through fund-raising programs, annual house-to-house canvassing, and social events which it sponsors.
Elected annually by the company's members, officers are installed with proper ceremony at an Installation Dinner.