The Mount Arlington Fire Department Today
The Mt. Arlington Fire Department has approximately 50 members and responds to an average of 200 calls annually. The department covers 2.1 square miles of the Borough which includes the community of Lake Rogerene. The department provides fire protection services to the homes and businesses, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Mount Arlington Fire Department provides many services to the community which include, but are not limited to…
- Structural, vehicular, and open Fire suppression
- HazMat, utility failure, and natural disaster Mitigation
- High angle, water, and ice Rescue
- CPR, first aid, and oxygen Administration
- Home and business fire safety and prevention Education
- Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED Training
History of the Department
Up until 1923, bucket brigades by neighbors were the only means of extinguishing a fire. There were no organized fire fighting units at the Lake Hopatcong and fire was a real threat to the residents as all of the homes and hotels were mostly of frame construction.It was not until 1923 that an official fire department was organized in the borough of Mount Arlington, and it was the first in the communities bordering Lake Hopatcong. Mount Arlington’s first 42 volunteer firemen were responsible for not only the immediate area, but all of the surrounding municipalities on the shores of the lake.Organized by the borough officials under Mayor Richard J Chaplin sr., the Mount Arlington Fire Department was willing and ably equipped to handle its responsibilities.William Chaplin, son of Mayor Richard Chaplin, was the first fire chief and served the department as chief for seven years. Raymond Speakers was the second fire chief of the department and served one year. Fred Rademacher was the next in line and served for 12 years. It was during his last term of office that the department changed its rules limiting that a chief could serve no more than one year.Chiefs of the Mount Arlington Fire Department since that time have included Oscar Danielson, Carlton Vanderhoof, R.J Chaplin Sr., Eugene Peterson, Pat Demarino, Charles Chaplin, Robert Rooney, Al Blanchard, Joe Santori, Robert Cooper, Marvin Forsythe, Vincent Reilly, Harry Schember, Richard Danielson, Jack Ribakusky, William Grant, Joseph Davis, Paul Wray, Robert Kadel, John Blanco, Donald Ruffcorn, Roger Rousch, Dan Bacinsky, Eugene Crance, Larry Elliott, Ralph Migliaccio, Don Smith. . . . , John Morsch, Tom Perillo , Marc Feinberg, Steve Norman.
Orin Barnes was never chief, but in 1985 he was named honorary chief in recognition of his 60 years of service to the department.The first fire truck purchased for the department was a 1922 pumper that had a 350-gallon water storage tank. It was the first motorized truck in a community bordering Lake Hopatcong. A 1922 Ford coal truck was also acquired and converted for fire fighting. The first new truck was a 1939 Ahrens-Fox, which the department still has. It consistently has won many trophies for the department at fireman’s parades. Over the years better and more efficient trucks were bought and today the department has five vehicles. Leaders of the borough organizations which would use the building for meetings were also introduced at the dedication. They were Peral Keffer, president of the Mount Arlington Community Club; Sylvia Hafner, president of the fire department auxiliary; Marge Getelman, PTA president Ann Craney and Florence Henkle, Girl Scout troop leaders; Marge Rogers and Ann Adams, Brownie Troop 246 leaders; Cy Roston, cubmaster of pack 46; Den mothers Mrs. Val Andico, Mrs. Ida Apostolik, Mrs. Gladys Garrison, Mrs. Hampton Goble, and Mrs. Florence Stigliano; Boy Scout Troop 146 Scout Master Jack Smith and James Calhoun and Ken Russell, assistance, Sydney Bernstein, Explorer Scouts, and William Vegso, fire department president.
The new building was of split-level design and masonry construction. The front was faced with red brick. The first story was designed to house three fire trucks and one ambulance. The lower rear level was designated to be the municipal garage. The total cost of construction was $55,000 which included the purchase of the land. Today the firehouse has four bays on the street level and three bays below the meeting room. It is the main fire house and most emergency response vehicles are dispatched from this location.In 1970-1971 a second firehouse was constructed at Lake Rogerene. This was a joint undertaking between the borough of Mount Arlington and the Fire Department. This second location was necessary to reduce the response time to that area of Mount Arlington. It currently houses one of the department’s two pumpers which is the primary response vehicle to that area.The fire department celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1972. John Blanco was the chairman of the parade which had 43 fire companies represented and 10 marching bands.
The line of march was from Memorial Park up Howard Blvd to Edgemere and Windemere Ave. and on to Bertrand Island Park where refreshments were served and trophies presented. There were 50 trophies in all representing the 50 years the department had been in service. The day ended with a fireworks display and the fire trucks exited the park with sirens blaring and lights flashing.In 1925, a Ladies Auxiliary to the Mount Arlington Fire Department was started. Two years later, in 1927 it was incorporated within and renamed the Mount Arlington Womens Club which later became the Mount Arlington Community Club. The Ladies Auxiliary of the Fire Department, as it is known today, was founded in the 1958. Joyce Lewin and Irene Tasnady were organizers. As with the first club, its main purpose was to provide sandwiches and coffee to the volunteer firefighters at the scene of the fires. It also served as a social club for wives of the firemen and was instrumental in fund raising events.Sylvia Hafner was elected to serve as the auxiliary first president. The other first officers were; Joyce Lewin; vice president; Lillian Hagedorn, treasurer; Edna Verbeck, recording secretary and Mary Tappen, corresponding secretary. The first members included Daisy Barnes, Palma Andico, Ethel Forsythe, Mary Russell, Settemia Smith.