History of Fire Company #2

History of Fire Company #2
The Passaic Valley Hose Company has served this community for over ninety years. In 1912, a group of civic minded residents organized the fire company, electing John Neiser as its first chief. The other charter members were Edward Mulroony, Theodore Weidanz, James Mulroony Jr., J. Quinn, D.L. Hughes, D.W. Beckwith and Claude Entwistle Sr.

The first piece of fire apparatus was hand-drawn. It was housed at Idlewild Park, which is now the site of the Singer-Kearfott Company. This building was used as company headquarters for eleven years until 1923. Shortly after the company was organized, a piece of horse drawn apparatus was purchased for the purpose of being used in parades. When there was an emergency, the apparatus was quickly transported to the fire scene by Al Atherton’s horse “Dolly”. The next piece of apparatus that was purchased was a Chalmers car, which was equipped by the company as its first fire truck.

The site of the present firehouse at 1070 McBride Avenue, between Pompton and Ryle Park Avenues, was acquired in 1922. An open air platform was constructed to facilitate dancing. With the receipts from these dances and a series of carnivals, enough revenue was generated to erect the first Passaic Valley Hose Company No. 2 headquarters in the early part of 1923. A few years later in 1927, an addition was erected and in 1933 a cellar was built under the firehouse and equipped as a kitchen and refreshment center.

Over the years, several renovations have occurred to the kitchen area, including the addition of a laundry area. In 1956 and again in 1962, additions were made to the firehouse, to provide more room for new apparatus and equipment. Aside from the structural improvements which have occurred, several other modifications and safety additions have been made, including an emergency generator-powered by natural gas, a sprinkler system, meeting room, watch desk and an officer’s room.

On June 16, 1962, the company purchased a 1930 Ahrens Fox from the Paterson Fire Department. It had been used as their Engine Number 9. Unfortunately, it was involved in a serious collision while operating with the City of Paterson Fire Department on Thursday, May 5, 1938. After acquiring Engine 9, many hours were spent restoring this apparatus. By working every night and all day on Saturdays and Sundays for three months, the members of our company produced a sleek and shining fire engine, designated as Engine 7. It has won numerous restoration awards, musters and was featured in the 1995 movie Zoya.

Many heads turned as it was driven through the Lincoln Tunnel on its way to filming in Manhattan. The fully functional antique remains a popular attraction to all visitors of our firehouse and to spectators along the parade route.

Over the years, the fire company has had several other fire apparatus including a 1939 G.M.C. 500 gallon pumper, a 1956 F.W.D. 750 gallon pumper, a 75-foot Snorkel and a Pierce body on a 1970 Seagrave chassis with dual rear axles, 1981 Hahn equipped with a 1250 GPM pump and a 500-gallon tank. At the present time, Passaic Valley Hose Company No. 2 is responding with a 2001 Pierce Lance, equipped with a 2000 GPM pump and a 500 gallon tank. This has been designated as Engine 2. Also running out of our firehouse is a 2001 Dash 100’ Tower Ladder, equipped with a 2000 GPM pump and 200 gallon tank. This apparatus has been designated as Truck 2.

When members of Passaic Valley Hose Company No. 2 are asked why we keep the new apparatus in show room condition, it is stated by our members that we want an apparatus that is both fire and parade ready. This is just a reflection of what this company has been built on-- pride.