Salvage & Rescue Co. No. 1
Captain: Nick Petonak
Lieutenant: Anthony Bucco
President: Michael Petonak, Sr.
Secretary: Angela Eckert
Treasurer: Roger Joinson
Chief Driver: Jody Baldwin
Asst. Chief Driver: Chris Picconi
Relief Rep: Roger Joinson
Relief Rep: Scott Hollinghurt
Relief Visitor: Michael Petonak, Sr.
BFD Rep: Tom Corigliano Jr.
BFD Rep: Chris Picconi
Steward: Eric Joinson
The Salvage & Rescue Co. # 1 emanated from the former Boonton Board of Fire Wardens. The Boonton Board of Fire Wardens were the first, authorized by a Town of Boonton Ordinance approved April 7 1893, known as Article III. The Ordnance established their duties, such as inquiry into all violations of the fire ordinances and regulations. They were in charge of all fire inspections and granted the power to take legal action against violators.
The Fire Wardens' had to attend all fires, day or night and establish fire safety lines under the direction of the Chief Engineer (Fire Chief). They were vested with all the powers of police officers of the Town of Boonton while going to, attending, and returning from any fire. The Boonton Board of Fire Wardens was organized on March 22, 1894, which was almost one year after the Fire Ordnance was adopted. The Wardens had no official headquarters to meet, so they met monthly in the houses or places of business of its members. They had no equipment or property, only an official badge of office.
The South Boonton Volunteer Fire Companies acquired a parcel of land on Madison Street where a New fire House was constructed in January 1913. When this firehouse was completed the Fire Wardens shared the new firehouse with the South Boonton Hose & Engine and Hook & Ladder Fire Companies. At that time the Wardens still did not have a vehicle, even though it had acquired some equipment.
Nine years passed, until February 10, 1921, when all the original members of the Board of Fire Wardens resigned. Their resignation is a bit of a mystery. On October 10, 1921 the Board of Fire Wardens were reorganized with new rules and regulations. A small 1921 REO Speedwagon was then acquired, and rebuilt to the Wardens specifications, costing a total of $525. They acquired equipment for the truck and operated it with pride and efficiency at all fires and functions. The original REO truck served the town until 1939, when a Federal truck was purchased. The 1939 Federal truck served the town for 14 years before a larger truck was needed to handle additional equipment. This truck was replaced by a 1953 Dodge and the body was built by Thoere Body Works. This truck was the envy of all Fire Departments within the area. The 1953 Dodge was completely restored and is still in operation today.
During the fall of 1962 the Board of Fire Chiefs appointed a Committee to review and recommend revision of the Fire Ordinance. Their mission was accomplished and the old Fire Ordinance was rescinded in 1963 by a new ordinance. This was a major reorganization of the whole Boonton Fire Department. The reorganization shaped the fire department as it is configured today. The principle change was the reduction of fire companies within the Town; eight companies were combined into five. The Board of Fire Wardens was renamed to the Salvage & Rescue Company # 1. The uniform of the Boonton Fire Department became standard, and thus the former Wardens boots, and britches were all articles of the past.
The emergence of the Salvage & Rescue Company #1 from the Board of Fire Wardens marked a new era within the Fire Department. The new fire company name reflected the duties, which were already being performed by the Wardens. These duties were of prime importance within the Fire Department even as it operates today. The requirement for these duties emerged by the results of both modern construction, and modern fire equipment. Fires were in most cases not as devastating as they were in the past. Thus an increased need for Salvage & Rescue efforts.
These duties necessitated even more equipment, so in 1964 a new truck was purchased. This truck was a 1964 Dodge, purchased from Corigliano Motors and Adam Black built the body to specifications written by the Fire Company. This truck was purchased for a total cost of $18,000 in 1964. Also in 1964, the town constructed a new town Hall, directly in back of the existing firehouse. The new building incorporated a Firehouse section. The property of the old Firehouse was incorporated in the current driveway/ parking lot. The 1964 truck was very unique in style, versatility, and utilization of space. This truck would accommodate the needs of the fire Department for a total of 24 years before its was replacement in 1987. During this period, as the Fire Department modernized, a great deal of new equipment was purchased. Equipment such as Self Contained Breathing Apparatus and the Jaws of Life, were to name a few additions to the equipment assigned to the Salvage & Rescue Company.
In 1981, the Salvage & Rescue Company formed a committee to investigate the merits of refurbishing the current truck vs. the purchase of anew one. After a few years of effort it was concluded that a new truck was the best option for the Department. Reliability problems coupled with lack of parts, body rust, additional space requirements and the increased awareness to firefighter safety warranted a new vehicle. The town Board of Alderman supported the new truck acquisition.
In 1986 a bid was awarded to Saulsbury Fire Equipment to construct a new vehicle to specifications written by the Fire Company. The new vehicle was delivered in October of 1987 at a cost of $182,000. This truck is a state of the art Salvage & Rescue vehicle; tailored to meet the specific needs of the Town of Boonton. This vehicle was made as large as believed practical for the Town, so as to accommodate the equipment now and in the future.
Two of the fire trucks previously provided to the Fire Company are still running today. The 1954 Dodge and 1964 Dodge were purchased by Tom Corigliano Jr. and restored by him to original condition. These vehicles are taken to Firemen's parades as privately owned, motorized antiques. The families of these vehicles are indeed a unique heritage, which we are all sincerely proud of.
The Salvage & Rescue Company has currently over forty members within its ranks. Over the last few decades, the size of the fire company has not varied that much. One crucial contributing factor in the maintaining of the Fire Companies membership was the lowering of the minimum age from 21 to 18 as it was originally.
It is our sincere hope that through new volunteers that the Salvage & Rescue Company, as well as the four other Boonton Volunteer Fire Companies, which comprise the Boonton Fire Department, continues to provide the best service available to our businesses and residences.