September 16, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 21 100 History (continued from page 20) Following a fire call, Chief Payne was injured and confined to his home. He resigned in July of 1910, but the following month, Charles Brown, the man who was destined to become the next chief, joined the department. In 1911, Brown was elected chief, a position he held for 22 years. Due to the expanding membership and the growing role of the department in serving the community, the office of fire lieutenant was created. Adolph Schleicher and Barney Vandersnow were the first two lieutenants. When the present-day borough hall was completed in 1917, the building included two bays for fire apparatus and an adjoining all-purpose room. Fire headquarters was located there for the next six decades. Midland Park officials, realizing the borough was growing quickly, recognized the need to motorize the fire department. After a 1918 study of specifications and cost, Mayor Schleicher and the council were presented with plans and specifications for a new Federal truck. The Federal apparatus, which was priced at $2,900 was approved and purchased. The City of Mount Vernon, New York, offered for sale a chemical pump for an additional $600. This pump was also approved, purchased and mounted on the new truck. The speed of the new truck could be “increased to 10 miles per hour with perfect safety,” the department reported. In 1923, the department sought $12,000 for an engine of the Ahrens Fox type. However, this new vehicle did not become available until after the schoolhouse fire of January 1924. On July 11, 1929, the fire department received its charter in the New Jersey State Association of Exempt Firemen. Firefighters who completed seven years of active duty became eligible for special state benefits. Its first officers were Barney Vandersnow, president; Henry Gunther, vice president; Adolph Schleicher, secretary; and A.F. Hall, treasurer. Changes in fire apparatus, and the growth of the department’s membership, led to a request for additional space. In 1958, a new bay was added to fire headquarters at the municipal building. However, the receipt of a Great Eastern Pumper in 1971 pushed the firefighters to seek a completely new home. On June 10, 1977, a second filing for public works funds was awarded to the Borough of Midland Park for construction purposes. The council passed an ordinance to bond construction, which opened the door for bids from contractors. The firehouse/municipal garage complex designed by Midland Park Architect Albert Vierheilig was about to become a reality. Groundbreaking ceremonies took place on Granite Street (Witte Drive) with the entire department and Midland Park officials looking on in December 1977. The ceremonial shovel was provided by Road Superintendent and former Fire Chief John Osenga. Participants in the ground breaking were Mayor Robert Hamilton, outgoing Chief Henry Hazen and Chief-Elect Charles Paulson. The firemen’s building committee, under the chairmanship of William Yonkers, had worked closely with the architect, borough engineers and the council in the years prior to the groundbreaking. The fire company organized a committee to establish equipment specifications, design interiors, purchase materials, and supervise the installation in the large public room, company lounge, and kitchen. As the project reached completion in 1979, the fire company’s financial investment totaled over $60,000. Committee members included: Samuel Iannuzzi, James McCombs, Richard DeJong, Eugene Bellusci, William Yonkers, Daniel Bardzell, James Trost, Robert Jeffer, Edward Smith, Roy Burrows, Richard Van Winkle and Delbert Campbell. Ladies Auxiliary members included: Marge Paulson, Lois Amos, and Jane Iannuzzi. The advent of chemical-based materials used in construction and furnishings led to upgraded safeguards to protect firefighters who are exposed to dangerous gases and liquids. The development of self-contained breathing apparatus by the Federal Department of Mines enabled firefighters to combat blazes within an environment previously considered too hazardous. In the early 1970s, the fire department began using the Scott Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, which revolutionized the way fires could be combated. With the firemen’s air supply protected, interior fire fighting now became the norm. Each 4,200 psi bottle of air affords the firefighter about 30 minutes of air. In 2000, the State of New Jersey provided grant funding that made it possible for the department to purchase thermal imaging cameras that allow firefighters to locate concealed fire or victims in areas being scanned. The department’s members were required to attend a train- th ANNIVERSARY ing class on the use of the camera presented by Northwest Bergen Mutual Aid Association and taught by the manufacturer. The Bullard camera is now used regularly. Midland Park has always been part of the Northwest Bergen Mutual Aid Association, and borough residents Henry Hazen and Jeff Allyn have both served as president of this organization. As part of the association, Midland Park has been on hand at many area fires, including the blaze at West Side Presbyterian Church in Ridgewood, the Ridgewood Car Wash, Aldo’s and Wyckoff Ford in Wyckoff, and a hazardous materials call at Lincoln Avenue in Glen Rock.