Although early records do not give an exact starting date for the Maxfield Hook and Ladder as a Company, minutes from the year 1891 show the Boonton Fire Department was originally known as the Maxfield Hook and Ladder until March of 1892. The first apparatus purchased by the town for the Fire Department was "a first class Hook and Ladder, fully equipped, weighing twelve hundred pounds, at a cost of $495.00." This unit was delivered to the Town in November of 1891.
The new Hook and Ladder truck arrived early in November and a parade of the Boonton Fire Department, including invited guests, the newly appointed Fire Wardens and Mr. Hessey's Band, all celebrating the arrival of the new apparatus. After the parade they assembled at the Opera House where they were met by the Mayor and Common Council. Speeches and music were heard, followed by the serving of coffee and sandwiches to complete the evening. The new ladder truck was housed in a barn opposite the School Street School until the completion of the Main Street Fire Headquarters.
1925 American LaFrance Motorized Hook & Ladder Truck
In 1926 the first motorized Hook and Ladder was purchased from American LaFrance. An interesting fact about this vehicle was that the truck was to be delivered with a four cylinder engine. The truck committee felt that a six cylinder engine was needed, so the fire Company gave the Town $250.00 to acquire the six cylinder engine
1949 Seagrave 75' Aerial Ladder Truck
In July 1948, the Company purchased its first Aerial Ladder Truck. This vehicle was a seventy five foot Seagrave Aerial costing $30,808.00. This truck was recently found in a Florida junk yard by Thomas Corigliano, Jr.. He has purchased it and intends to restore it.
1964 Seagrave 100' Aerial Ladder
In January of 1965, a 100' Seagrave Aerial Ladder was ordered to replace the 1948 truck. This vehicle was the first 100' Aerial in Morris county. The truck had a turntable lowered eighteen inches so that the unit would fit in the old Maxfield Firehouse located on Main Street.
In 1977 after serious mechanical problems the V-12 gasoline engine was replaced with a Cummins Diesel. The following year an automatic transmission was installed. In 1987 the truck was completely refurbished by Seagrave at its Wisconsin plant. The special care that went into maintaining this piece enabled it to stay in service for over 30 years!
1921 Reo Speed Wagon
Our present Salvage & Rescue Company, as most of you know, emanated from the former Fire Wardens. The Fire Wardens were established by the general fire ordinance passed in April of 1892. Under its provisions the Fire Wardens were invested with all the powers of police officers for the duration of an alarm of fire; also they were charged with the duties of fire inspectors and were to inquire into all violations of the fire ordinance. Through the years the Fire Wardens experienced several reorganization periods, and in our department of today, the Salvage and Rescue Company perform a very important service, compatible with modern methods of combating fire and emergency requirements.
In the early days, a badge and a club seemed to be the extent of their needs in terms of equipment, but with the acquisition of a small 1921 Reo Speed Wagon, that was rebuilt to their specifications, items of Salvage and Rescue were gradually incorporated into their domain.
1939 Federal Truck
With war at America’s doorstep, this truck was ordered immediately following Germany's invasion of Checzoslovakia with only one vote from the Town Council. It was paid for by the CDDC (Civil Defense Disaster Control), yesterday's version of today's OEM (Office of Emergency Management). The 1939 Federal truck served the town for 14 years before a larger truck was needed to handle additional equipment.
Compared to how our trucks are decaled and lettered today, you could tell from this photo that the Boonton Fire Department gave the impression that it was prepared for the unfortunate consequences of a World War: "Civil Defense Disaster Control Boonton, N.J.".
1998 Seagrave 100' Aerial Ladder
In 1998, the Board of Aldermen authorized the purchase of a new aerial to replace the aging 1964 Seagrave aerial. On March 1, 1999, the Town of Boonton took delivery of the new apparatus. The new apparatus is a 1998 Custom Seagrave 100' Patriot Rear Mount Aerial. The aerial has an 8500 watt generator, a generous collection of ground ladders and enclosed seating for eight firefighters. The new apparatus also has ample room for the increasing amount of tools and gear that is required in modern firefighting.
1953 Dodge Rescue Truck
In 1953, this Dodge replaced the 1939 Federal. The body was built by Thoere Body Works and was the envy of all fire departments within the area. Thomas Corigliano, Jr. purchased and completely restored this truck and it still is in operation today.
1986 Mack/Saulsbury Heavy Rescue
In 1981, the Salvage & Rescue Company formed a committee to investigate the merits of refurbishing the current truck vs. the purchase of a new 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. It was made as large as believed practical for the Town, so as to accommodate the equipment now and in the future.
In 2006, the department added a pneumatic light towerto the front of the box, nested just above the engine compartment.
2016 Spartan Metrostar/Rescue 1
As the age of the Mack began to show, and changes to the vehicle’s function during emergencies evolved to include additional disciplines like public safety diving and firefighter rehabilitation, plans for a new rescue truck began. While compartments were drafted up and chassis specifications were being outlined, not only were these additional functions considered, but tasks that were no longer relevant also played a part in the design.
In May of 2013, funds were allocated for the truck committee to begin their diligent work of producing a concept for a new heavy rescue vehicle. While many new concepts like a vehicle-mounted radiation detector and mobile Wi-Fi hotspot were added, some old concepts from the previous vehicles were kept and improved upon. Features like adjustable shelving had proven useful over time to accommodate future equipment, and a light tower was also specified.
Eventually, the vehicle was purchased through State Contract. It arrived in Boonton in the spring of 2016 and is currently in service.
1893 Gleason & Bailey Hand Pumper and Hose Reel
On August 23, 1893, the Common Council passed a resolution that authorized the purchase of a hand-operated Pumping Engine from Gleason & Bailey, Seneca Falls, New York, for $642.00; a Hose Reel to cost $90.00; and 500 feet of hose to be purchased from the Eureka Manufacturing Company. Both of the Gleason & Bailey pieces were assigned to Maxfield Engine House, however they belonged to two seperate companies.
Interesting note: The metal fixture mounted on the top of the hose reel that reads"Hose Co. No. 1" is presently affixed to the restored 1915 American LaFrance "Metropolitan" Horse Drawn Steamer.
1915 American LaFrance "Medium" Metropolitan Steamer
In 1915, the town purchased an American LaFrance "Medium" Metropolitan Steamer. This apparatus was assigned to the Maxfield Engine Company. It had a 600-gallon per minute pump and had a two-horse hitch. All the original bright work was nickel-plated, until the 1964 refurbishing when it was changed to chrome plating.
Complete with 4' suction, a 300 GPM positive pump and 2 wheel brakes, this engine was stationed at the Maxfield Firehouse. 2 similar engines where purchased by the South Boonton and Harmony companies and delivered the same day - August 16,1923.
However, this particular model was considered a double-tank combination hose & chemical engine. Meaning it was the only Waterous Engine out of the 3 with 2 mounted, copper/nickel-plated tanks behind the driver seat. All 3 Waterous Engines where built on Wilcox Chassis, supplied by the Wilcox Trux Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1938 Ahrens Fox
This Ahrens Fox pumper was one of two purchased by the Town of Boonton. It was the first fire engine in the Town of Boonton to be painted cream. It was in service until 1955 when it was replaced.
In 1955, the engine was sold to a plastics company, to be used for plant protection in an industrial fire brigade. The Ahrens served the plant for many years but was sadly neglected. In 1981, Thomas Corigliano purchased it and embarked on a ten year restoration project. He was able to locate both the South Boonton Hose & Engine Company's retired Ahrens Fox, as well as the Maxfield Company's engine, however only this one could be restored. Parts from the South Boonton Engine where used to help "revive" the Maxfield engine. In 1991, at the Boonton Fire Department's 100th Anniversary Parade, the refurbished Ahrens Fox made its triumphant return to Boonton.
The Ahrens has since won numerous trophies and awards at parades and musters in the New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Maryland. The Ahrens was the featured apparatus at the 1993 Firehouse Magazine Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.
1 of 3 purchased by the Boonton Fire Department, this particular engine was restored by Joe Di Bello of Engine 305, and is currently owned by John & Lauren Van Riper Engine 303. Interesting note: It was the first Seagrave to have the nose chromed.
This engine was equipped with a 1000 GPM Pump, 350 Gallon Tank and a pre-piped deck gun. It was delivered in May of 1972.
Interesting note: On the 1972 Hahn, the Driver's side and Passenger's side emblems are different. Both are Maltese Crosses but have different lettering. The Driver's side is lettered is Maxfield Hose while the Passenger's side is lettered Maxfield Engine. This is because the company had originally been two separate companies - Maxfield Hose Company, which had a hose cart and the other Maxfield Engine Company, who were in charge of the engine. This was in recognition of the two companies.
It was 10 years since the Boonton Fire Department had purchased a new fire engine (1987 Saulisbury/Mack for the Salvage & Rescue Company) in 1987, so this was the first in a series of trucks that the town had voted to buy in an effort to update their firefighting technology. Stationed at the Boonton Avenue Firehouse, this engine is equipped with a 1250 GPM pump, 500 gallon tank, pre-piped deck gun, pre-piped foam, 8 man enclosed cab and 5" large diameter hose.
1893 Van Duyne Hand Pumper
On August 23, 1893, the Common Council passed a resolution that authorized the purchase of a hand-operated Pumping Engine, to be manufactured by Simeon Van Duyne, to cost $200.00 and 300 feet of hose to be stored in a suitable place in West Boonton with a suitable alarm.
On September 13 of that year, Harmony Hose & Engine Company # 2 was assigned the engine built by Simeon Van Duyne, of Boonton. Before the firehouse was completed, the engine and the 300 feet of hose was housed in Theodore Ringlieb's barn on West Main Street. When they moved into their new firehouse, they realized that more equipment would have to be purchased. Harmony Company purchased a hose reel for $90.00 and a chiefs leather helmet (purchased in Seneca Falls, NY) with a blue cord and tassel for only $5.25 without any tax!
In 1894, the Harmony Company bought a lot on the corner of Oak Street and Highland Avenue for the enormous sum of $70.00 for their own firehouse. The firehouse itself was built at a total cost of $560.00.
On February 12, 1902, at 4:25 a.m., Maxfield Company received an alarm that Harmony Engine Company's firehouse was on fire. By the time Maxfield responded, the fire and made great headway and it was impossible to save the building, furniture or fixtures. Insurance covered $200.00 for the loss. Temporary quarters were secured in Norris' barn on Cedar Street and the South Boonton Volunteer Fire Company loaned Harmony their hand engine.
The Van Duyne Hand Pumper was originally built on a wood chassis which did not survive the fire. The pumping engine received considerable damage from the fire and this was repaired by Mr. Oscar Whitehead. The chassis was rebuilt with iron and was repainted and continued to serve the Town. The pumper was returned to service in excellent condition with improvements and changes and it saw extensive service prior to the advent of our motorized apparatus.
"According to members who have experienced pumping the engine, a man couldn't last on it at full speed for more than a minute and a half. A certain rhythm had to be established to conserve man power. Men would form lines on each side of the machine and the front man would drop out with the second man taking his place. The front man would then go to the back of the line and rest until his turn came up again."
- Taken from an article in the Daily Record, September 6, 1966"
The hand pumper was restored and is currently housed in the New Jersey Firemen's Home Museum.
1916 Ford Model T
Believed to be a Ford Model T Chassis, this was Harmony Hose & Engine's first motorized fire engine. It was also the first chemical engine in the Town of Boonton.
Interesting notes about this particular photo: - Driver: William Kintscher - Passenger: Dawfy Righter - Children: Future Harmony Member Leo Lewis (with Cap) and Unknown
Believed to be the last red colored fire engine in Boonton, this engine complimented the 2 other 1923 Waterous engines from Maxfield and South Boonton. This particular engine was a triple-combination (chemical, hose and pump) model. It boasted a 400 GPM pump, unlike it's other 2 brothers from the Maxfield & South Boonton Companies which only had 300 GPM pumps.
It's an interesting fact that with all it's firefighting capability, it had to be pushed out of the firehouse on many occasions to get it started. All 3 Waterous Engines where built on Wilcox Chassis, supplied by the Wilcox Trux Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota and where shipped to Boonton from the factory in August 16,1923.
The 1940 Buffalo was the last pumper that Boonton ordered prior to the beginning of World War II. The Board of Alderman acted quickly to procure a new engine for Harmony. It was the first cream colored engine for the company and included a 4-1/2' suction, a 500 GPM positive pump and a rear-mounted booster reel. When retired from service, it was sold to Drew Chemical/PVO for it's fire brigade. Years later, it was donated back to Boonton, and used by Auxiliary Fire Department for several years.
1 of 3 purchased by the Boonton Fire Department, this engine was equipped with a 750 GPM pump and rear-mounted booster reel. It's nose was also slightly longer than the other two similar engines to accomidate its powerful V-12 engine.
1976 Great Eastern
The 1976 Great Eastern was an engine of firsts for the Boonton Fire Department. It was the first engine with a top mounted pump panel, first with a pre-piped foam system, first with a three stage high pressure pump, first with Mattadale attack lines, first with an AC power inverter, first with anti-lock brakes and first engine with an automatic transmission. The engine was commonly referred to as the "Chrome Dome" because of its two top mounted chrome booster reels.
In addition to a booster tank containing five hundred gallons of water, it had a twenty gallon foam tank, pre-piped to a dedicated foam line. The foam system could be bypassed to use the foam line as a third pre-connected attack line. The engine also was equipped with two priming pumps - one mechanical, one electric. Its drafting capacity was been demonstrated on several occasions including high lifts off the new Pond Bridge and using eight suctions while drafting along Route 287.
The engine was equipped with six Scott 4.5 SCBA's, six spare bottles, 800 feet of 3" hose, 800 feet of 2-1/2" hose. The pre-piped foam line had 150 feet of 1-3/4" line and a a basket load had 200 feet of 1-1/2" hose split on an 1-1/2" Wye. The Mattadales were each equipped with 200 feet of 1-3/4" hose. For years the Mattadales had been equipped with only 150 feet. About three weeks after the changeover to 200 feet was made, a fire on the third floor of an apartment on Main Street made the extra 50 feet came in handy.
One of the first fires that the new engine responded to was the Standard Railway Fusee Corporation in Mountain Lakes. As the story goes, one Sunday morning, shortly after the Great Eastern was placed in service, the alarm for Standard Railway Fusee was sounded. Being Sunday morning, the traditional gathering day for the Boonton Fire Department, the new Harmony engine responded to the call with a full crew. After seeing the large column of smoke in the distance, the crew knew it was in for an interesting time. Standard Railway Fusee manufactured flares using various highly flammable materials such as magnesium and sulfer. The Harmony engine was first on the scene, dropping a double lay of 2-1/2" line as it entered the gates of the complex. Another Boonton engine connected to the hydrant outside the complex to feed Harmony. While explosions were going off within the complex, one of the Boonton Chiefs responded to the scene and asked the operator of that engine the location of the Harmony engine. The operator just pointed to the two lines disappearing into the smoke filled complex. The Chief followed the lines, expecting to see the new pumper being damaged by the debris raining down on the scene. When he finally came through the smoke to the Harmony engine, it was parked right next to a blast wall and all the debris was blowing over the engine - leaving it untouched!
The Great Eastern was refurbished in 1986 and continued to serve the Town of Boonton through March, 2001. For one of its last responses, the engine assumed its usual place at the front of a working apartment fire at the Federal Housing Project on Plane Street. During that alarm, the Harmony Engine acted not only as an engine, but also as the Ladder truck, carrying a thirty-five foot ladder for the out-of-service Ladder truck.
The 2000 Seagrave engine, delivered on March 12, 2001, continued the innovation for the Boonton Fire Department. The Harmony Engine and its twin - South Boonton, were the first 1500 gallon per minute pumpers in Boonton, the first with foam available at any discharge, the first with top mounted pumps with walk through.
1876 Van Duyne Hand Pumper
Mr. Simeon VanDuyne, a machinist by trade who owned his shop on Homes street, built a hand pumper similar in design to the Paterson machine, in 1876. He and a group of a dozen or so men from the South end of Boonton took great pride in dousing fires that began in their area. So, when in 1891, the town of Boonton chose to organize its fire Department, the first Companies formed were located "on the Hill" within the more densely settled business district. Van Duyne's group, although they existed informally for several years before this date, had no participation in the Boonton Fire Department organization. But the maverick group had the only pumping apparatus in town!
On August 20, 1892, barely a year after the organization of the Fire Department, a fire of major proportions gutted the U.S. Hotel, the Worman Building, and adjoining properties on Main Street. Newspaper articles proclaimed the value of Van Duyne's men and machine in fighting this fire, and within several months, the successful group organized itself as the independent South Boonton Volunteer Fire Company. Curiously, several weeks later, they petitioned the Town Council to be recognized as part of the Boonton Fire Department, then immediately withdrew their request.
Within six months of legally organizing themselves, South Boonton demonstrated its strength of commitment, a plot of land was donated to them, by the wealthy James Holmes, upon which they immediately built a firehouse. By June of 1893, they were fully operational, with the original hand pumper, a suction engine, ladders, buckets, hose carriages, and several hundred feet of hose. The Boonton Fire Department, meanwhile, had chosen as its first piece of apparatus, a hook and ladder truck, and housed it in a barn on the hill section of town.
Several months later, the men of South Boonton impressed their fellow citizens again. A serious fire erupted in a house near the corner of Main Street and Myrtle Avenue, adjacent to the Morris Canal. By using the Canal as a water source, the South Boonton men applied water to the fire, according to the newspaper reports, within six minutes of the sounding of the alarm Van Duyne's hand pumper had proven itself again, and within several days, the Town Council authorized purchase of a new modified hand pumper from Van Duyne, as well as another pumper and hose reel, for the Maxfield Fire Company, from Gleason and Bailey Manufacturing. The Department took possession of their first hand-drawn fire engine on October 19, 1893. It remained in service until it was replaced by the more sophisticated horse drawn steamer, in 1915. In September, 1894, the Harmony Hose and Engine Company organized, and took possession of the newer hand pumper produced by Van Duyne's machine shop.
The hand pumper was rebuilt and restored and is currently housed in the New Jersey Firemen's Home Museum
This engine was stationed at the South Boonton Firehouse and arrived with 2 other Waterous Engines on August 16, 1923. However this was the only single-tank combination hose & chemical model. The 2 other similar engines purchased by the Maxfield and Harmony companies where double & triple combination models. All 3 Waterous Engines had at least 1 copper nickel-plated tank behind the driver seat and where all built on Wilcox Chassis, supplied by the Wilcox Trux Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota. This engine was equipped with a 300 GPM pump.
1938 Ahrens Fox
1 of 2 purchased by the Boonton Fire Department, this engine was equipped with a 750 GPM pump and served the town until it was replaced in 1959.
1 of 3 purchased by the Boonton Fire Department, this engine was equipped with a 750 GPM pump and served the town until it was replaced in 1978.
2000 Seagrave Engine
Along with it's twin that was ordered for the Harmony Hose & Engine Company around the same time, it's the first 1500 gallon per minute pumper in Boonton, the first with foam available at any discharge and the first with top mounted pumps with walk through.