Page 18 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • September 16, 2009 100 The history of any fire department is marked by infamous infernos, and Midland Park’s 100-year-old volunteer organization is no exception. Ironically, the most notable blaze in the borough’s history preceded the establishment of its fire department. Appropriately, it led to the department’s establishment. The 1905 blaze at the Granite Linen Company, now part of the Marlow Park office building and the storage company on Greenwood Avenue, helped to convince Midland Park officials that a fire protection organization based within the borough. From the first alarm, it was clear that the fire would destroy the factory, since the only fire apparatus available would be coming from Ridgewood. By the time Ridgewood firefighters reached the scene, the damage had already been done. Toward the end of 1905, the Midland Park Council passed an ordinance to provide for the extinguishment of fires. The council also appointed a committee, whose members included Councilmen Hooker J. Coggershall and Charles Christopher and resident Dr. Joseph Payne. The group was charged with looking into the organization of a volunteer fire department. Dr. Payne, whose office was located next to the present-day post office on Godwin Avenue, later became the fire department’s first chief. Before the Midland Park Fire Department was officially formed, other area departments provided service, and sometimes billed the borough for their work. After the fire that destroyed the Cleaver Store on the corner of Madison th ANNIVERSARY Department’s history has been a trial by fire and Central avenues in Wortendyke, the Ridgewood Fire Department presented the Midland Park Council with a bill for $37.50. In July 1909, just before the Midland Park Fire Department’s new hook and ladder apparatus had arrived, a fire broke out in a building adjacent to Columbia Hall, located across from what is now Friendly’s Restaurant, and threatened the entire destruction of the Hall. The borough called Paterson, which sent an engine to the scene. The heavy apparatus, drawn by horses, made the seven-mile trip in a relatively short time, and the exhausted animals were allowed to rest at Dr. Payne’s barn during the fire. By the time firefighters arrived on the scene, the fire had reached the upper floor of Columbia Hall, which was the borough’s headquarters and home to the Wortendyke Lodge of Odd Fellows. The loss sustained by the borough consisted of a desk worth $15, an ink well valued at 60 cents, and chairs worth a total of $27. A 1910 blaze on Godwin Avenue, near the Ridgewood border was notable as it led to the eventual resignation of Chief Payne. After sustaining an injury fighting that fire, Payne was confined to his home for a long-term recovery. The chief resigned his duties on July 11, and Midland Park’s firemen then elected Charles Brown as Payne’s successor. Brown would serve the organization from 1911 through 1932. Chief Brown led the department during the Jan. 5, 1924 fire at the school that had been located on the present site of the Midland Park Memorial Library. The fire was reported at approximately 7 p.m. and spread quickly. Chief Brown recognized the high potential of f ire spreading to (continued on page 23) Congratulations to Our Fire Department! from Creations By Fran Flowers & More... • Full Line of Fresh Flowers • Custom Silk Arrangements • Unique Oil Painting Gallery 14 Central Ave, Midland Park 201-444-8366 or 201-444-9474 (around the corner from Sal Lauretta for Men) Open Mon-Fri 9-6, Saturday 9-5 Local businesses are the backbone of your community and the trend to shop the big guys on the highway hurts us all. Your local businesses have what you want... at the right price... and close to home. So, why hassle with the highways? Save Time! Save Gas! Save Money! SHOP MIDLAND PARK. IT’S SMART. ...and besides, it’s so convenient!