the first meeting of 1940, held on Monday, January 8, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported three fires. He also stated a fire school is being started.
Ex-Chief James Hindley reported two (traffic) lights will be installed
in front of the firehouse. James Balaam reported the Auditing committee
had found the books okay. Walter Schoeller reported $75.12 profit so
far from the oyster supper. As there are still some returns to be made,
the Supper committee was continued. Walter Schoeller also reported on
fire police. Charles H. Smith reported on the New Years open house.
James Balaam requested the company go to the home of Thomas Ackroyd,
who died today, in a body on Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. Certain members
of the fire company will act as bears at the funeral on Thursday. The
Decoration committee was instructed to drape the firehouse in mourning.
Charles H. Smith reported trustees will report on insurance at the next
meeting. It was reported that Mark Cermele is in the hospital. Chief
Anthony Pilla suggested we do something to raise money to help pay expenses
for entertaining the Mercer County Firemens Association in March.
After discussion, it was moved we chance off two blankets or something
comparable. Treasurer H. Lee McConahy Jr. asked permission to change
the depository for the Fire and Engine account funds. Moved this company
designate the Security National Bank as depository and we adopt a resolution
to this effect. Moved that in order to close out the accounts at the
Trenton Trust Co., last years officers be authorized to sign a
check for the full amount of the bank balance and date the check December
30, 1939. It was suggested that we reduce the initiation fee as an inducement
to get new active members. It was brought that in order to do this an
amendment to the constitution would have to be introduced. Moved Walter
Schoeller draw up an amendment to change the initiation fee. James Hindley
thanked the members for the ex-chief badge.
A fire apparently broke out in the headquarters of the Lawrence Volunteer
Fire Association sometime between the January and February 1940 meetings.
Details of the blaze are scarce. All that is presently known is from
a brief mention in the minutes of the February meeting. But it is clear
that damage was done because the fire company filed an insurance claim.
The blaze also apparently sparked concern over the fire companys
insurance coverage for the February meeting was dominated by discussion
of the insurance
of that meeting, held on Monday, February 12, 1940, read: Chief
Anthony Pilla reported two fires the firehouse and an auto fire.
Chief Pilla requested five men volunteer for fire school for 40 weeks.
Moved the trustees apply for insurance on the damage caused to the building
by fire. (Editors Note: No other information has been found about
this apparent fire in the firehouse.) Charles H. Smith reported on insurance.
He stated insurance on the building was $5,000. But it was brought out
that we also have an additional policy on the back building. It was
also brought out we have fire and theft insurance on the Sanford but
not on the Diamond T. The trustees were instructed to check on this.
In regard to the liability insurance the trustees recommended that,
as long as we are covered under workmens compensation carried
by the township, we dispense with the London accident policy. After
discussion, during which it was brought out that the two insurance policies
are in no ways comparable, it was moved that the recommendation of the
trustees not be approved. Moved that if we do not have fire and theft
insurance on the Diamond T the trustees be given authority to take out
a policy. It was suggested the trustees look into fire insurance policies
on the building with the idea in mind of consolidating policies and
probably getting a 3-year policy at a reduced rate. Edgar Weart stated
that it was his thought that if a letter was written and sent to all
property owners in this district asking for a donation of $1 or more
that the people would respond. Moved a committee be appointed to carry
out this idea. Moved we send a telegram to the Lawrenceville Fire Co.
at the Geneva Inn tomorrow night congratulating them on their 25th Anniversary.
During the meeting held on Monday, March 11, 1940: Chief Anthony
Pilla reported one false alarm. He also talked about fire school and
suggested two additional members join the school. He also suggested
the fire company pay the mens dues. Edgar Weart read the prepared
letter to be sent to property owners. After discussion, during which
some minor changes were suggested, it was moved the letter be returned
to committee with instructions to carry on with power to reword the
letter and send it out. President Leo Balaam thanked the committee that
served the Mercer County Firemens Association meeting. The amendment
to the constitution concerning reducing the initiation fee of those
eligible for active duty was presented for its second reading. It was
the consensus of opinion that we should include all applicants, social
or otherwise. After lengthy discussion, Walter Schoeller withdrew the
amendment. It was moved we open the charter to include all applicants,
social or eligible active, for an initiation fee of $2 for a period
of six months from this date. Carried by a vote of 22 to 2. A rising
vote of thanks was given to the Pig Roast committee. A rising vote of
thanks was given Howard Klockner who donated the pig.
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on Monday, April
8, 1940, include: Chief Anthony Pilla reported 20 fires for the
month and one person arrested for starting grass fires. As a matter
of record, the members attending fire school are: Anthony Pilla, Mark
Cermele, Albert Schoeller, Steve Stanzione, and Paul Radlinsky. Chief
Pilla requested something be done about unauthorized persons handling
the apparatus, especially when the hall is rented. Matter put in the
hands of the chief and active men. Mr. Maxam of Maxam and Groseclose
spoke on blanket and workmens compensation insurance. The blanket
insurance policy covers all members between 16 and 70 years of age and
covers accidents and illness resulting from accidents whether on actual
fire duty or whether at drills, parades, work around the firehouse,
etc. Not covered is hernia, sports or ordinary illness. Workmens
compensation covers only active firemen and active exempt and covers
public fire duty only and not other duties. The secretary read a letter
from the Ladies Auxiliary announcing a supper on April 18 and urging
members to attend. Edgar Weart read the letter to be sent to property
owners and voters. Moved the committee carry on and send out the letter.
William Baker suggested fire police have white raincoats. Moved we appoint
fire police to act as a committee to raise funds to pay for the coats
and they turn any excess profits into the Fire Account. Also during
the meeting 20 men were accepted into membership.
During the meeting held on Monday, May 13, 1940, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported five fires and a drill at the Battery. He found that
the plug at the Battery would not give sufficient water for one truck.
He stated a dam was being installed on Eggerts Crossing Road. William
Sharp stated Mr. DiPaulo, property owner upon whose property the dam
was being constructed, was now objecting to it. Ex-Chief James Hindley
was appointed to straighten this out. Edgar Weart stated the letter
to the residents had been sent out. It was suggested we list property
owners not living in the district and send them a copy of the letter.
He thanked the members for distributing the letter. It was stated there
was a fire hazard at Etons. Russell Smith stated this will be
taken care of. Anthony Pilla suggested we get a dart board. Walter Schoeller
stated we had decided to chance off a car. Cost of car is $600. Winner
to receive $500 cash or the car. Anthony Pilla suggested we take under
consideration the proposition of revamping the building and making a
kitchen. Laid over until next meeting. Also during the meeting,
another 10 men were accepted into membership.
During the meeting held on Monday, June 10, 1940, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported one fire. He also reported (traffic) lights were received.
The township is getting prices on installation. Albert Schoeller suggested
we have signs placed 500 yards on each side of the firehouse warning
motorists that they are approaching a traffic light. Walter Schoeller
reported approximately 600 tickets sold on the car. He asked for further
cooperation in selling the remaining tickets. The secretary reported
on the Mercer County Firemens Association. He reported Joseph
Olessi and Frank Freeman had received life memberships and that new
delegates should be elected. A letter was received from the insurance
company stating that if certain changes were made around the stove in
the club room our rates would be reduced 20 cents per $100 evaluation.
Letter was turned over to the trustees for action. President Leo Balaam
was asked to leave the room. Vice President J. Russell Smith took the
chair. Robert J. Ross suggested we get Leo Balaam a wedding gift. After
discussion, it was moved Robert J. Ross, J. Russell Smith, and Charles
H. Smith be appointed to purchase a suitable gift at a cost not to exceed
$15. Under the question of a kitchen, Walter Schoeller suggested that
if the car tickets go off okay, we might consider a new building or
an extension of the present one on the lot next door. Albert Schoeller
suggested we have a committee look into the possibilities. No action
was taken however. Charles H. Smith states the building needs painting
and the doors need repairing but sufficient funds are not available.
Anthony Jack Pasquito suggested we buy paint and have members
paint the firehouse. Moved the House committee buy paint and brushes
and supervise the painting.
July 15, 1940
Fireline captains and lieutenants were appointed during the meeting
held on Monday, July 15, 1940. According to the minutes, Chief
Anthony Pilla reported the following drivers were appointed: Carl Sommers,
captain; Paul Radlinsky, 1st lieutenant; and Steve Stanzione, 2nd lieutenant.
President Leo Balaam thanked the members for the wedding present.
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on Monday, August
12, 1940, include: Chief Anthony Pilla reported three fires. He
also reported there was a new battery in the Sanford. Chief Pilla reported
(traffic) lights installed and in working order. He suggested we contact
the Highway Department to determine if we could have light warning signs
installed. Walter Schoeller reported the car raffle will go off on August
20. It was requested the committee to contact Lawrenceville ascertain
whether or not they would be interested in going in with us on the next
car. It was moved we appoint a committee to contact Lawrenceville regarding
the car proposition and, if Lawrenceville is favorable, to have full
power to act. Charles H. Smith reported the stove was insulated from
the building and the insurance company notified, with the result we
should get a reduction in rates. Bob Applegate and Joseph Pilla were
thanked for doing the work. The Painting committee reports stalemate
due to weather.
During the meeting held on Monday, September 9, 1940, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported no fires. He reported the men will graduate fire school
shortly. J. Russell Smith reported Trenton Water Works will install
new equipment to boost the pressure. Walter Schoeller reported the first
car chanced off. John Yates was the winner. He reported Lawrenceville
will go along with us on the second car, which is expected to be chanced
off around October 1. Prize will be $600 or the car. Paul Radlinsky
reported on the Mercer County Firemens Association meeting. He
reported Firemens Day will be held at the fairground on September
24 and stated firemen were invited to participate in a parade that evening.
Moved the question as to whether or not we should enter the parade be
left to the chief. Anthony Pasquito reported progress on painting. Clark
Arrowsmith of Lawrenceville was given the floor and talked about getting
the three fire companies interested in jointly running a carnival next
year. He suggested we appoint a committee merely to investigate what
could be done. Moved a committee be appointed. Albert Schoeller suggested
we make some use of the lot next door, pointing out that it is our property
only if we use it. He suggested we clean up the lot and use it for parking.
J. Russell Smith will see if he can get a driveway cut in. It was pointed
out that members called for duty with the National Guard were allowed
moratorium on dues by law.
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on Monday, October
14, 1940, Chief Anthony Pilla reported one fire, a short circuit
in a house at Eggerts Crossing. He also reported he had had requests
for fire permits. It was pointed out that a township ordinance was necessary,
so he volunteered to get the three chiefs together to see township committee.
Three representatives of the Ladies Auxiliary were given the floor to
present a request for a kitchen. They requested the upstairs ladies
room be rebuilt into a kitchen and the lavatory moved downstairs. After
discussion, it was the consensus of opinion that the upstairs room would
not prove sufficiently large for a kitchen and we should appoint a Building
committee to meet with the ladies and determine what could be done.
The secretary read a letter from Trenton Water Department which stated
they were considering the request to boost water pressure. The secretary
read a letter from the state Highway Department regarding the erection
of signal light signs. The secretary was instructed to write to township
committee with a copy of the state letter. The secretary read a letter
from the Highway Department regarding the proposed driveway in the parking
lot. Letter and application were turned over to trustees with instruction
to make a sketch and send it to the Highway Department. Walter Schoeller
gave a final report of the first car raffle 663 tickets sold,
$39.09 profit. He also reported the second car raffle will net the two
companies a total of approximately $300. He stated the opinion of the
committee was that the money should be kept in the committee treasury
until at least the next car is chanced off. House committee chairman
Charles H. Smith reported dart board was purchased.
During the meeting held on Monday, November 11, 1940, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported one fire at Prospect Heights. He also reported a change
was made to the siren to deflect the sound. He also reported on our
attendance at two parades. Fire school graduation will be December 6.
J. Russell Smith stated he will take care of signs for the traffic lights.
Walter Schoeller reported on the third car chanced off. Only 4 out of
1,000 tickets were unsold.
Highlights from the final meeting of 1940, held on Monday, December
9, include: Chief Anthony Pilla reported no fires. He reported
that skid chains were purchased for the Diamond T. He also reported
that Albert Schoeller, Mark Cermele, Steve Stanzione, Paul Radlinsky
and himself had graduated from fire school. They were given a congratulatory
rising vote. Walter Schoeller reported the last car won by Cecelia McCloskey.
All 1,000 tickets sold. He turned over a $300 check to the company.
Moved we donate $2 to the Boonton home. Moved we have open house on
New Years. Howard Klockner offered the company a pig for a roast
later on. This was accepted with thanks.
Members of the Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association responded mutual
aid to a general alarm fire in Hamilton Township in the early morning
of Sunday, December 15, 1940. The following story appeared in the Trenton
Evening Times on Monday, December 16, 1940
of two storage buildings of the Nearpara Rubber Co., swept by fire early
yesterday, was still smoldering today as company officials checked the
heavy damage. The blaze started in an undetermined manner about 1:30
a.m. yesterday in a 60-by-150-foot corrugated iron building used for
the storage of reclaimed rubber. It spread through a long, narrow shed
of corrugated iron which also housed rubber. The one-story shed, 12-by-300-feet,
belched columns of flame and black smoke. A high wind, taking a fortunate
course that swept the leaping flames away from the companys main
factory building, sent tongues of fire licking at a field adjoining
the plant. The fire was discovered by a passer-by
plant on East State Street near Whitehead Road is a half-block away
from the Hamilton Fire Co. headquarters. Men from that station were
the first at the scene. At least eleven fire companies sent apparatus
as numerous alarms were turned in. Company officials said today large
stocks of the plants finished product reclaimed rubber
were destroyed. The loss is partly covered by insurance. The
high-leaping flames were visible for miles and, in spite of the early
hour, a crowd of several hundred persons gathered. Hamilton police set
up fire lines
embers started several fires in the nearby fields, which were quickly
quenched by firemen. The intense heat and repeated flare-ups as the
flames reached fresh stores of rubber drove firemen back. The blaze
continued through the night. Apparatus were kept on hand yesterday and
hoselines continued to pour water on the smoking debris this morning.
Trenton sent five engines and a truck with Deputy Chief Thomas Gilligan.
Other companies at the scene included Colonial, Enterprise, Rusling,
Slackwood, Mercerville, Prospect Heights, Groveville, White Horse, and
(Editors Note: Lawrence Road firefighters definitely responded
to the fire, according to the minutes of the meeting held in January
1941. Therefore, Lawrence Road was either accidentally omitted by the
newspaper or confused with Pennington Road.)
According to the 1941 List of Active Firemen filed with the state by
the Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association, the company responded to 60
fires and attended 12 drills during the calendar year 1941
During the meeting held on Monday, January 13, 1941, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported two fires one out of district at Nearpara Rubber
Co. and a junk fire at Risdens farm. He reported fire school will
start shortly, with the previous school graduates as instructors. The
chief reported that orders were placed for 300 feet of 2.5-inch hose
and 200 feet of 1.5-inch hose. Mark Cermele sent in his resignation
as 2nd Assistant Chief. Nominations were called for and Paul Radlinsky
was voted in as 2nd Assistant Chief.
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on Monday, February
10, 1941, include: Chief Anthony Pilla reported no fires. He reported
the hose and fire police coats and hats were received. The chief also
stated that under law he was now permitted to appoint fire police officers
for five years. He took the opportunity to appoint the present fire
police to this term. James William Musson, chairman of the Building
committee, reported three proposals were under consideration
1) to divide the clubroom, making one half into a kitchen, knocking
out the wall to the quoit room and finishing the quoit room as a club
and meeting room, approximate cost $500; 2) a new building; and 3) to
bring the pool table upstairs and make the upstairs a recreation and
meeting room. After various discussions, it was the consensus of opinion
that any change made at the present time should be such that it would
not involve a waste of money if a new building was considered in the
future. Joseph Pilla expressed his objection to the removal of the quoit
ground and suggested if a new building was considered in the future
that bids be taken and we forget volunteer labor. James Balaam spoke
in favor of using the upstairs room as a recreation room and favored
the installation of an oil burner so heat could be had at all times.
Walter Schoeller moved that the upstairs room be utilized as a recreation
and meeting room and the pool table be moved, and we give the ladies
the entire downstairs room to do with as they see fit. Seconded and
carried. It was brought out that we should install immediately a 30-gallon
hot water heater in time for the supper the ladies were having on the
20th. Mr. Crane offered to donate a 30-gallon boiler he has. Moved we
install the hot water heater and boiler immediately, utilizing the donation
of Mr. Crane. Everyone expressed pleasure and fullness obtained at the
pig roast held previously to this meeting. Howard Klockner promised
us another pig next year.
During the meeting held on Monday, March 10, 1941, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported three gas fires. He also reported that as Paul Radlinsky
is now in the Army it would be necessary to elect a new 2nd Assistant
Chief. The secretary read the letter of resignation of Richard Walter
as treasurer. Thomas Hawthorne was elected treasurer and Steve Stanzione
was elected 2nd Assistant Chief. Moved that members drafted for and
who volunteer for military service be exempt from dues for the duration
of their service and any dues paid in advance be credited to them. The
secretary will notify the drafted members of the action taken. Leo Balaam
stated he will check the status of active members who were drafted.
Albert Schoeller reported progress on the recreation room. He asked
the members to come here Friday to help get the room in shape.
During the meeting held on Monday, April 14, 1941, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported 26 fires for the past month, consisting of one truck,
23 grass, and two out of district. The three chiefs are to draft rules
regarding grass fires. Letter received from the Ladies Auxiliary thanking
us for the room for the kitchen and for asking Bob Applegate to estimate
the cost to remodel the room..
Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association responded mutual aid to Lakewood
in Ocean County to help battle a raging forest fire in April 1941. The
following details about the blaze were reported in the Trenton Evening
Times on Monday, April 21, 1941:0
least 68 homes lie smoldering in ruins in the wake of the most devastating
series of forest fires to sweep over central and southern New Jersey
in years. Unofficial estimates set property damage between $500,000
and $1 million as weary firefighters, many of them on duty all night,
kept watch for fresh outbreaks in the tinder-like pinelands of Ocean,
Monmouth and Burlington counties. Red Cross and local agencies set about
caring for the homeless and for the thousands of firemen from all sections
of the state who answered calls for assistance. The injured list included
15 Fort Dix soldiers 14 of them in a truck that overturned as
they sped to fire duty and eight people treated for smoke inhalation
at Lakewoods Kimball Hospital. Many others were treated at the
scene of the fires. A 52-year-old man died of a heart attack while beating
out flames that ignited his Lakewood home. Lakewood, a resort in the
Ocean County pine belt, took the brunt of the fires fury. At least
46 homes were destroyed and approximately 150 persons were left homeless.
Elsewhere in Ocean County, 10 of the 12 homes in the hamlet of Archers
Corner were destroyed, and seven more homes went down to the flames
in Cassville. Five more homes were razed in Holmeson, Monmouth County
tree trunks, extending for mile on mile like blunt needles in a brown
pin cushion, testified today to the intensity of the flames in the three
counties. Fanned by strong winds, the flames in many instances hurdled
streams and highways to devour the woodlands that were dehydrated by
more than a week of unseasonably hot weather and lack of rain. Wildlife
scurried from the burning woods in search of shelter. Col. W.G. Schauffler
of the U.S. Army reported seeing a rabbit, its fur ablaze, run across
a highway and ignite the dry underbrush on the other side. Firemen reported
that the lack of water pressure handicapped their efforts in several
localities. State Fire Warden Leroy S. Fales said the states mobile
tank equipment had worked excellently, but added that the services
eight trucks had been insufficient for the days needs
companies fought the Lakewood blaze. Residents in all stations of life
formed bucket brigades and employed garden hoses in the fight to save
the town from total extinction. While the men manned hoselines and directed
traffic, women of Lakewoods American Legion disregarded choking
clouds of smoke to serve coffee and sandwiches. The Red Cross set up
temporary headquarters in the municipal building, distributing clothes
to those who had lost their homes. When the flames approached his property,
Abe Malter, led a cow from his barn and took the animal up to Stony
Hill Cemetery, the highest point in town, where he tied it up. Going
back home, he found his house destroyed. At one time, flames threatened
to level the estate formerly owned by the late John D. Rockefeller but
five fire companies checked the blaze. A carpenter shop and several
homes across the street were damaged. Dozens of homes were razed on
all sides of Kimball Hospital, but the fire spared the hospital. Six
new-born babies were taken to the basement for protection against smoke.
The fire destroyed bridges across Toms River and Ridgeway Brook on the
Central Railroad of New Jerseys line to Atlantic CityÖ
following updated details were published in the Trenton Evening Times
on Wednesday, April 23, 1941: With all the forest fires in scattered
sectors on New Jersey reported under control, the state fire service
today planned airplane flights over the stricken areas to determine
the extent of damage. Preliminary surveys indicated that at least 84,000
acres of pine scrub and underbrush had gone up in smoke since Sunday
when roaring tongues of flames began to cut swaths of fiery destruction
across southern and central Jersey. Unofficially, the amount of property
damage has been estimated at well in excess of $1 million. The toll
included the loss of several hundred homes, livestock and wild gameÖ
During the meeting held on Monday, May 12, 1941, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported six fires two at Lawrenceville, one at Lakewood
and three local field fires. He elaborated on the call to the Lakewood
forest fire. The seriousness of the water supply situation in the township
was again discussed with the result that it was moved the secretary
write the township committee requesting action, with the suggesting
that hydrant rental fees be withheld unless the situation is remedied
by the city. After discussion about clubs renting the hall and interfering
with fire company activities, it was moved that we do not rent any portion
of the present building to outside clubs (not including election and
service boards) and that the building be used only for fire company
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on June 9, 1941,
include: Chief Anthony Pilla reported three fires two dumps
and one high tension line. He also reported the fire company pumped
water for carnival and we are to receive $25 for this service. In regard
to the overhead doors, it was moved the same keyway be installed in
the new doors and back door. Chief Anthony Pilla appointed Albert Schoeller
to fire police.
During the meeting held on Monday, July 14, 1941, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported on two fires one house and one electric stove.
The house was completely destroyed but the adjoining property was saved.
1600 feet of hose was laid. It was brought out that at this fire there
was difficulty in getting the telephone company to put through the correct
calls. The secretary was instructed to write to the telephone company.
Albert Schoeller reported that the installation of the doors had started.
A letter was received from the Lawrence Township Democratic Club asking
us to reconsider our ruling prohibiting meetings in the firehouse. After
discussion, it was moved that the motion regarding the renting of the
hall, as passed in May, be amended to allow the Democratic Club to meet
in the firehouse once each month on the first Thursday for the balance
of this year for the sum of $2 per meeting. In accordance with their
letter regarding refreshments, the use of fire company equipment is
During the meeting held on Monday, September 8, 1941, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported one fire an ice house. The chief suggested that
the weeds be cut down near the dam at Eggerts Crossing. President J.
Russell Smith thought the township possibly could do this. Chief Pilla
reported it is planned to give fire training for civil defense. It was
moved that Chief Pilla appoint a new 1st Assistant Chief until the first
of the year..
On Saturday, September 13, 1941, a two-car, frame garage on Lawn
Park Avenue was destroyed by fire of unknown origin. Garden tools stored
in the building were lost. Damage was estimated at $300. Lawrence Road
Fire Co., directed by Chief Anthony Pilla, fought the fire, according
to a news brief published in the
Trenton Sunday Times Advertiser on Sunday, September 14, 1941.
Highlights from the minutes of the October 1941 meeting include: Chief
Anthony Pilla reported on five fires one at the ice house, which
finally burned down, two field fires and two fires out of district.
He reported that a drill was held last Sunday. The chief complained
about the poor condition of the siren. It was suggested we write the
company from which we purchased it for suggestions as to what is wrong.
Albert Schoeller reported the Board of Governors had taken bids on painting
the firehouse exterior (two coats, with blisters, etc., scrapped and
sanded and windows puttied before painting) and awarded the contract
to Theodore Meals. He reported the building was now painted. He asked
for 10 or 15 men to be here next Sunday to help with plumbing and electrical
work. Walter Schoeller reported this company had made a total of $1,500
profit on the 13 cars so far chanced off. Lee McConahy suggested any
purchases for the building that are necessary, like a siren or linoleum
for the kitchen, be taken from the Building fund. James Hindley suggested
we scrap the radiators and buy unit heaters for the firehouse. It was
the consensus of the plumbers present that radiators were best.
During the meeting held on Monday, November 10, 1941, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported three fires for the months, including one out of district.
He also reported a drill was held at the Hendrickson farm where 3,000
feet of hose was laid. The chief reported that on discussion with representatives
of the Sterling Siren Co., it was brought out that our siren was practically
beyond repair. A price was obtained from the company for a new vertical
siren with remote control and pull lever box with a 5-horse power, single
phase 220-volt motor, 35-inches high by 38.5-inches long, for $375,
allowing $75 on the old siren.
During the meeting held on Monday, December 8, 1941, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported three fires, including a house fire out of district.
The chief also reported that, after careful consideration and investigation,
it was found that a 2-horse power instead of a 5-horse power siren was
satisfactory and would result in a savings of approximately $100. The
cost of the siren is $215, plus $20 for the remote control and $50 for
the pull lever box, with no allowance on the old siren. It was pointed
out that the chief has full power to act in accordance with the best
interests of the association. Chief Anthony Pilla reported that civil
defense fire school will start shortly.
In an effort to better prepare township firefighters and members of
the general public for wartime firefighting, the Lawrence Volunteer
Fire Association convened a fire school in the Winter of 1941. The following
announcement of the training was published in the Trenton Sunday Times
Advertiser on December 21, 1941: Chief Tony Pilla announces that
so much interest has been shown in the organization of the Lawrence
Road fire school that he has expanded the school to include volunteers
from the entire township. To date, 52 volunteers have registered, including:
Herbert Jaeger, Donald Gallimore, Bertram Gallimore, John Crump, Mr.
Higgins, John Cartlidge, John Messic, William Oldenburg, Aubrey Oldenburg,
James Balaam, Paul Gessmyer, Ernest Reed and Robert Edwards. Chief Oscar
Eggert of Lawrenceville states he will attend the school with volunteers
of District No. 1. The course will open with the fundamentals of firefighting
being taught and continue through all necessary evolutions, ending with
the procedure of extinguishing incendiary bombs. Members of the New
Jersey State Fire School Council have offered their services in assisting
the school, with Professor J.J. Messenger of Audubon High School planning
to show the actual action of an incendiary bomb. The course will include
both theoretical and actual evolutions and all members have been asked
to wear old clothes. C. Hill will have charge of disciplinary instruction;
Albert Schoeller Jr., hydraulics; Chief Pilla, pump operation; and Steve
Stanzione, theoretical evolutions. Any resident of Lawrence Township
who has not registered for volunteer firefighting may do so at the first
class to be held Tuesday evening at the Lawrence Road firehouse at 8
Members of the Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association responded to 42 fires
and attended 18 drills during 1942 (according to the report given by
Chief Anthony Pilla during the first company meeting held in 1943).
An elderly couple perished in a house fire in Eggerts Crossing in the
early morning hours of Wednesday, January 14, 1942. That days
edition of the Trenton Evening Times carried the following account of
Two persons, a man and his invalid wife, died early this morning
in the flames which destroyed their 2-1/2-story frame home on Elmawr
Avenue near Eggerts Road, Eggerts Crossing. Four other members of the
family, including two small children, were sleeping in the house when
the fire was discovered shortly after 4 a.m., but they managed to escape.
Chief Joseph P. Stonicker, of the Lawrence Township police, identified
the victims of the fire as Frank Winrow, 83, and his wife, Elizabeth,
73. Stonicker said the husband could have saved himself by crawling
from his second-floor bedroom window onto a shed roof and then dropping
to the ground, but he refused to leave the side of his wife, who had
been bed-ridden since an operation more than a month ago. Members of
the family who escaped from the burning house included a son, Joseph
Winrow, 25, and his wife, Margaret, 24, and their two small children,
Betty, 4, and Joseph Jr., 3. The elder Joseph climbed atop the shed
roof in an effort to save his parents, only to suffer a fracture of
the leg when he slipped on the ice-covered roof and fell to the ground.
He is in Mercer Hospital
wife, Margaret, discovered the fire shortly after 4 a.m., according
to the story she told Chief Stonicker. She said she was awakened by
smoke and found the dining room on the first floor of the house enveloped
in flames. She carried her two children to safety from their bedroom
on the first floor while her husband made a futile effort to reach his
parents, who were sleeping on the second floor. Finding the stairway
cut off by the fire, Joseph ran outside the house and climbed to a rear
shed roof which was directly under the parents bedroom window.
Joseph said he called to his father through the window and tried to
persuade him to leave the house while there was still time, but the
father called back he would rather die with his wife. After arguing
in vain with his father for several minutes, Joseph said, the flames
reached the rear of the house and forced him to retreat to the edge
of the roof. There he slipped on a patch of ice, lost his footing and
fell to the ground
son, Garton Winrow, who lives in a small one-room shack near the Winrow
home, also made an effort to rescue his father and mother, but failed.
It was just like pop not to want to leave mother, Garton
later explained. They had been married for more than 50 years,
and they had never been apart. I cant ever remember one of them
going any place without the other. The flames spread rapidly through
the frame house, which Frank Winrow had built himself some 23 years
ago. By the time Lawrence Road and Pennington Road firemen arrived at
the scene, the fire had spread throughout all the rooms on the first
and second floors. The firemen could do little but prevent the blaze
from spreading to adjoining homes. When the fire finally was extinguished
at 10 a.m. only the concrete foundations of the house and a brick chimney
remained standing. Origin of the fire was undetermined. The charred
bodies of the victims were not recovered until shortly before noon.
At that time they were ordered removed to the S.S. Dade Funeral Home
by Dr. Henry J. Majeski, deputy county physician.
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on Monday, February
9, 1942, include: Chief Anthony Pilla reported one fire in which
two lives were lost. After a discussion of the recent fire at Eggerts
Crossing it was decided that the system in effect for summing help in
case of a serious fire was adequate and should be followed. President
Foster Jemison suggested that the chief inform his assistants of this
plan so that it could be followed in his absence. Chief Pilla also reported
that he had ordered two all-service gas masks. He said that the siren
would be supplied in accordance with the original terms. James Dorety
resigned as recording secretary due to the fact he had volunteered for
the Army Air Corps. His resignation was accepted with regrets. H. Lee
McConahy Jr. was elected to fill the post. William Sharp reported the
Red Cross had requested use of the firehouse to store equipment. William
Musson requested the use of the firehouse on the first and third Sundays
of the month. In line with these requests it was moved and seconded
that for the duration of the war emergency the renting and letting of
the building be left to the trustees with the understanding that it
be let to all service clubs free of charge. These clubs, however, may
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held Monday, April
13, 1942, include: Chief Anthony Pilla reported there were five
fires four fields and one barn. He reported the Sanford has been
repaired and that six new Indian tanks and two all-purpose smoke masks
had been purchased. No news about the siren. William Sharp reported
trustees making progress in securing bill of sale on the Sanford engine.
During the meeting held on Monday, May 11, 1942, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported nine fires, three of which were out of our district.
He also requested that the secretary write a letter to Mrs. Joseph Rich
instructing her in the proper method of turning in a fire alarm. William
R. Sharp reported that the mortgage had been paid off and would be cancelled
in the county clerks office. The bills for the rebuilding of the
coal bin were referred to the House committee. A short recess was declared
to permit a picture of the fire school members to be taken.
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on Monday, June
8, 1942, include: Chief Anthony Pilla reported six fires
two houses, one lumber pile, 1 woods, and two fields. Three drills were
held at Bunker Hill Road. Two engines pumped 37 minutes for a total
of 26,000 gallons of water. Thomas Hawthorne reported on the siren.
It is hard to hear due to its location on the building. An effort is
being made to secure an old windmill tower to place the siren on.
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on Monday, August
10, 1942, include: Chief Anthony Pilla reported there were two
fires, including one out of our district. There were four drills. The
Sanford needs repairs. The chief reported he has been granted a 60-day
deferment by the Draft Board for the purpose of arranging his replacement
in the company. A black-out test run was made by Eastern aircraft. A
letter of thanks was received and read from J.V. Atchley for our work
performed when his property burned. Firemens Day at the fairgrounds
will be October 3. Trustees reported the insurance policies are all
in order except that the mortgage clause in favor of James Balaam should
be cancelled. The bill of sale for the Sanford has not yet been secured.
The service roll is still being worked on and will take time to complete.
Lee McConahy was appointed to see about a windmill platform for the
siren. Motion was made that a service flag be purchased. The committing
in charge of bond raffling resigned. After discussion it was voted we
carry on with the bonds and a new committee was appointed.
Though Americas involvement in World War II was still less than
a year old, preparations for civil defense rapidly progressed on the
home front. At a trial black-out, which lasted 25 minutes, we
had 26 men, two nurses and a doctor report to the firehouse, according
to the minutes of the meeting held on Monday, October 12, 1942. Also
during that meeting, Chief Anthony Pilla reported no fires. He
reported that we paraded at the state fair and made quite a hit with
our service flag. He reported that Slackwood was called and responded
to a fire at the 112th Filed Artillery on Eggerts Crossing Road. Applications
have been filed out for six black-out passes. It was reported that at
the last Mercer County Firemens Association meeting, the meeting
was turned over to the politicians and no business was transacted. The
discussion on the opening of the charter was continued. William Marsh
moved that the initiation fee be retained at $5. Motion passed by a
vote of 16 to 6. Lee McConahy moved that if the charter is appended
within six months of this date, the initiation fee of all members who
have joined since August 1, 1942, be reduced to $2 and that the additional
three dollars be credited as payment of their dues. Motion passed.
The meeting on Monday, November 9, 1942, was held in Pillas gas
station because of the lack of heat in the firehouse, according
to the minutes. Highlights from the minutes include: The meeting
was interrupted by a black-out test. New instructions for fighting incendiary
bombs were issued. Chief Anthony Pilla reported one fire on Kelly Lane.
The fire was out when the engines arrived. He reported there were two
field fires on Halloween. The police were notified. Thomas Ettinger
injured his ankle at the fire on October 28, 1942. The chief reported
that police lights were issued to Joseph Crans, Thomas Hawthorne, William
Smith, Andrew Cermele, G.H. DeLieu, and William Baker. The Mercer County
Firemens Association meeting was held at Lawrenceville. The county
fire marshal suggested the organization of junior fire companies. The
purpose of these units is to combat fires by making the younger boys
(15 to 18 years old) fire conscious. The Volunteer Fireman magazine
was recommended. It was moved that the company pay 50 percent of the
subscription price of the Volunteer Fireman magazine for all who wished
to subscribe. Herbert Jaeger donated $5 to be used in payment of the
subscriptions to the magazine. Thirteen men subscribed. Chief Anthony
Pilla requested that the safe be moved from the engine room. Motion
made that we keep the badge price at $1. Motion made that anyone wishing
to return their badge would be refunded $1 provided the badge is in
good condition. First nominations of officers for 1943 were also
held during the meeting.
During the meeting held on Monday, December 14, 1942, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported one fire at Slackwood and two truck fires. He reported
the scrap-metal drive was very successful. Two bids have been received,
one of $5 per ton and one of $7 per ton. It was voted to send Christmas
remembrances to our members serving in the armed forces. The secretary
read letters from Maxam and Groseclose acknowledging the renewal of
our blanket accident policy, and from the Volunteer Fireman magazine
acknowledging the receipt of 13 subscriptions. Officers elections were
then held. President Foster Jemison turned the chair over to Joseph
Crans, vice-president elect, in the absence of President-elect James
Hindley. The company then gave Foster Jemison, retiring president, a
vote of thanks for his splendid work during the year 1942.