Edison Volunteer Fire Company #1

We operate out of 1 stations that protect a primarily residential area. Our department is a public department whose members are on a combination of paid and volunteer status.

The events which eventually led to the establishment of the Edison Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 actually began in 1917. It was in that year that the Edison homestead was destroyed by fire. Later, there was a series of fires at the Edison Lab site that destroyed stables and offices. As a result of these events, the Menlo Park Athletic Club along with other residents realized the need for better fire protection. After much discussion, the Menlo Park Hook and Ladder Company was formed. The fire company equipment consisted of a horse drawn wagon with ladders and leather buckets. The equipment was housed in the machine shop of the Edison Lab on Christie Street. When there was an alarm of fire, Mr Frederick Peins Sr. would bring his horses to the fire house. They were hitched to the wagon and the fire equipment and the firemen were on their way to the fire. These old timers raised funds by holding dances in one of Edison's old lab building. Later the fire company was forced to move when the property on Christie Street was sold. After searching for a new location, it was found that in order to receive official recognition from what was then Raritan Township, that a Fire District with Fire Commissioners would have to be formed. In February of 1924 the election of five Fire Commissioners took place. They officially took office on April 4, 1924, taking on the task of reorganizing the fire company and forming Fire District No. 2. In searching for a name for the newly organized fire company, it was realized that no better name could be found than that of the man, Thomas Edison who had done so much to make Menlo Park famous. The newly formed fire company was christened Edison Volunteer Fire Company No. 1. The Fire Company's first Fire Chief was Theodore Fauquier, and the first President was Stephen Walker. A bungalow on Monmouth Avenue was purchased for $500. to serve as the new home of the fire company. This structure was enlarged to hold the company's first motorized piece of fire apparatus, a Model T Ford formerly owned by Raritan Engine Company No. 1., which was purchased for $26.00. The fire truck had two 40 gallon chemical tanks that discharged through a 3 / 4 hose, and a wooden ladder. In 1928 a Buick - 6 chassis was purchased. The body was removed from the Model T and placed on the new chassis. Three chemical tanks were purchased from the Hopelawn Fire Co. and placed on the new apparatus. In 1931 a new Diamond T was purchased as a hose truck. A pump and booster tank was added to the truck in 1936. The Buick was donated to a neighboring town. The fire house was becoming the center of community and social affairs. The fire company needed a new larger fire house. In July 1938 the fire company contacted Major Charles Carman, an architect, to draw up plans for a new fire house. The new fire station on Route 27 was built with a W. P. A. grant and dedicated on April 12, 1941. Thomas Alva Edison and Major Charles Carman are the only honorary members of the fire company. In 1947 a surplus 1942 GMC pumper was purchased from the War Assets Administration and placed in service. In 1953 the fire company purchased a new 750 GPM Oren pumper. The Diamond T was retired. In 1958 Raritan Township became Edison Township and all of the fire companies were consolidated into the Edison Division of Fire, while maintaining their individual identities. As the population of the township grew, the need for more modern fire apparatus was evident. In 1966 a new Ford 1000 GPM pumper was placed in service as Engine 9, and in 1972 a new 1250 GPM Seagrave pumper was placed in service as Engine 8. These two new pumpers replaced the 1942 GMC and the 1953 Oren respectively. The fire company's first Chief's vehicle was a used van that went in service in Feb. 1982. After using a former police car the fire company placed in service a new Chief's car in August 1993. A 1972 Chevy step van was placed in service in June 1983 as the Township's first Tactical Unit. This was a vehicle that was used to transport manpower to fires throughout the township. It was replaced by a 1978 Dodge utility truck in June 1988, and by a new van in August 1995. Engine 9 was replaced by a new Ford 1000 GPM pumper in 1985. Edison Township decided to place career firefighters on duty in the Menlo Park fire station in Dec. 1992. The career personnel operated Engine 9. Engine 8 was replaced by a 1983, 1250 GPM, Pierce pumper in July 1993, and Engine 9 was replaced by a new 1250 GPM, Seagrave pumper in January 1995. Today the Edison Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 is still totally dedicated to providing the citizens of our community with the best, progressive fire protection available. From our humble beginning with horse drawn equipment to today's modern fire apparatus we claim to have faithfully executed the task entrusted to us.

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