Glassboro Fire Department
Station 26-1

Mission Statement

The mission of the Glassboro Fire Department is to actively promote, deliver, and preserve, with pride and dedication, a feeling of security, safety and a quality level of service to the citizens of our community.

To accomplish this, the department provides a full range of emergency service responses to such incidents as fires, hazardous materials, vehicle extrication, and other emergencies as they arise. Additionally, the department provides a number of proactive programs in fire prevention, public education, and disaster preparedness.

About Us

The department covers a response area of 9.2 square miles with a population of 20,000 residents, which swells to approx. 35,000 residents when Rowan University is in full service, and responds to over 900 calls for service annually.

In addition, the Bureau of Fire Prevention performs fire safety inspections in the business community as well as the private sector.

Members of the Glassboro Fire Department work hard to promote fire safety during Fire Prevention Week and throughout the year. They host an open house for the public, work with our school children to promote fire safety, and also host a yearly Christmas party for all the Borough children.

Service to the community is provided from one centrally located station, 27 East High Street. Equipment housed at this location include one 100’ Aerial Platform, one Rescue Vehicle, three Class “A” pumpers, and one Command Vehicle.

In addition to the resources identified above, the department participates in a countywide mutual aid system, which increases the total amount of resources immediately available.

The Glassboro Fire Department is a combination career/volunteer department. The station is covered 24/7 by one on duty firefighter per 24-hour shift. Currently, personnel consists of four career employees, career municipal chief, seven part time employees, and approximately 20 plus volunteer on call members. Whether paid or volunteer, the members of the Glassboro Fire Dept. stand by the department core values. These are: Recognizing the dedication, skill and value of all members, we will create and maintain an environment of individual safety, well being and trust. We are guided by service to others, team work, compassion, integrity, safety, honesty, accountability, professionalism and respect.

Heritage

In 1996, the Glassboro Fire Department proudly celebrated it's 100th anniversary. During the course of the last century, over 250 volunteers have served the community. The Glassboro Fire Department plays a vital role in our community while saving taxypayers money. We have a rich history of tradition and excellence.

The present fire department is the outgrowth of the early Glassboro Hose and Ladder Company. The first piece of apparatus was a horse drawn ladder wagon that was placed into service May 26, 1894. In those early years, the first citizen to reach the fire station with a horse to pull the wagon was paid $1.00 per fire. Initially, the ladder wagon was housed in the building on the grounds of the Whitney Glassworks, known as the "Mule Barn." In late 1895, a two-story structure, called Fireman's Hall was erected on the south side of High Street between Academy and Main St., roughly across from the present Heritage Glass Museum. Shown here are Ira Carter, Alanzo Beckett, Frank Haight, William Porch and Charles Haight.

With only one piece of apparatus, no water system, and a small group of unorganized volunteers, there was a fear of great conflagration in Glassboro. The large Whitney Glass Works fire on October 26, 1895 proved these fears to be well founded.

Shortly after the Whitney fire, a public meeting was called for the purpose of forming a more ogragnized fire company. There were only about a dozen citizens present, but they were determiend to improve the town's fire fighting ability. Nine days before Christmas in 1896, Chief Harry Rowan, Sr. presided over the first meeting of the reorganized fire company at Fireman's Hall. This was the official beginning of the present Glassboro Fire Department. The membership in 1896 consisted of 33 men.

The original "Glassboro Hose and Ladder Company" was maintained until january 6, 1911, at which time it was changed to "Glassboro Fire Compay No. 1" and later to "Glassboro Fire Department, Company No.1." Here members dress up for their "old time photo" with the newly restored hose cart. Pictured are W. Carey, T. Buck, A. Wilt, E. Custer. J. Keller, L. Kirkpatrick, and G. Armstrong.

  

Past Fire Houses

The 1894 Ladder Wagon and Early Hose Carts
 
The 1910 Fire House with 1954 Addition and the 1981 Fire Station at its Current Location
 

Early Apparatus

The first motorized truck was put into service on March 20th, 1915. It was a combination chemical and hose truck on a Brockway chassis manufactured by R.G. Edwards of Atlantic City.

                 Pictured in both photos: David Paulin, Frank Zane, Wilbur McFadden, Al Voelker

With horse drawn ladder wagons now obsolete, a Model T Ford was purchased in 1916 and was used to pull the wagon. After two large fires in 1917, the need for a pumper was realized and the "Big Pumper" was put into service January of 1918.

Above: The Model-T Ford Ladder Wagon, the Brockway, and the "Big Pumper" driven by A.G. Stewart,  B. Franke Zane and Al Johnson respectively.

As the town grew, so did the need of more ladder equipment. A Cities Service Truck was purchased from the Seagraves Company for $9,000. It arrived on October 24, 1924 by rail car. The next purchase was a Seagraves "Three in One" truck purchased in February of 1929 at a cost of $6,450. The "3-in-1" designation meant it had a 500 GPM pump, a 50 gal acid/soda tank, and a bed for two and one-half inch hose. In 1942, the chemical tank was replaced with a 200 gallon water tank making this Seagraves the first booster line truck in Gloucester County.

In 1945, a new Seagraves pumper was purchased for $4,000 to replace the aging "Big Pumper". This Seagraves was eventually sold in 1967 to a private citizen. Twenty-four years later in 1991, the pumper's third owner in Baltimore contacted the fire department asking if we wanted it back as a historical piece. The Seagraves was bought back by the company for $1300 and restored for the 100th Anniversary Celebration in 1996.

The 3-in-1 Seagraves, the Seagraves Pumper, and the Cities Service Ladder

In 1952, a 75 foot American LaFrance Aerial Ladder Truck was purchased for $31,658 to replace the Cities Service Ladder. It was in service for 32 years, with it's last run being on March 31, 1986.
Over the next several years, the need to add to the Department's pumping capabilities was necessary and motor vehicle accidents were adding new responsibilities for the members. In 1955 and 1958, two more American LaFrance Pumpers were added to the fleet.

  The 1955 and 1958 American LaFrance Pumpers


1966 brought the addition of a Ford Rescue truck and 1967 an additional pumper was purchased.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In April of 1986, the Glassboro Rotary Club donated a 1976 Dodge telephone utility truck to the fire department for carrying rescue equipment.  It was modified by members of the fire department and used for nine years until a new rescue truck was purchased.With the town expanding, as well as Rowan University building taller dormitories, a greater need was created for increased ladder capabilities. Our current fleet of apparatus, including a 105 foot Thibault Aerial Platform bought in 1986, has helped meet this need.  

Personal Protective Gear

The advances in a firefighter's personal protective gear and safety aparatus is amazing. Back in 1896, firefighters did their jobs in their personal work clothes. As seen in this 1917 photo at left, the gear was soon upgraded, to that of a rain coat and metal helmet. As years progressed, so did the "turnout gear." Today, Glassboro's firefighters are pvodided the best possible personal protective equipment (PPE). This equipment consists of a turnout coat, turnout or bunker pants, boots, protective Kevlar hood, helmet, and self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Also, firefighters now have technology at their disposal with such equipment as PASS safety devices, capable of alerting others of a downed firefighter, and thermal imaging capabilities.

100 Years of Sounding the Alarm

Before the days of pagers and plectrons, firefighters had to literally rely on the "bells and whistles." The first alarm was steam whistle at the Whitney Glass Works. The whistle proved to be unsatisfactory, as did its replacements. Finally in 1898, a 30 inch diameter, 325 lb bell was erected at Fireman's Hall and used until 1910. In 1920, it was given to the Glassboro Board of Education and used for many years at the Academy Street School. On March 17, 1975, a fire destroyed the Academy Street School bell tower and the bell was removed. It is now on display at Bullock School where it symbolizes two things--calling men to fire duty and calling children to school.                                     

Along with the bell and subsequent horns, the phone company was an important resource for early firemen. Bell Telephone operators would relay fire locaitons to the firemen. This was done with the addition of a Portable Road Telephone which was added to the deparment's equipment and was used from 1920 through 1936. Pictured at right is Joseph Seibert with the road pole phone relaying the message to Walt Dunham. Today, after technology brought about two-way radios and plectrons, all Glassboro members now carry pagers, which optimize response time.

Other Traditions

Not all of the Glassboro Fire Departments traditions have to do with apparatus and fire gear.  Here, Thomas Stewart and George Beach show off Beach's dog Mickey at the 1965 Memorial Day Parade! And Todd Armstrong, John Hurff, Mike Reed, and Mark Reed wait in line to see Santa (Chris Siebert) at the 1968 Christmas Party. This tradition continues today with a Christmas party for all of the Borough children every year!

The past 100 years have brought about many changes for the Glassboro Fire Department. But one thing that has remained constant is the need for the company. See below to read about some of the historical fires of our Borough!

   

 

Historical Fires

Below are photos from some of the more memorable fires over the last 100 years in Glassboro.
After the Whitney Glass Works fire of 1895, fire engulfed the Zane's Olympian Hall on East High Street in 1907 and the Auditorium on Academy Street in 1917. Below is a photo of a fire at the Academy Street School, then known as the Grammar School, in February 1917.

In December of 1944, five firefighters had a brush with disaster when they were trapped after the second floor of the Junior Mechanics Building located at High and Main Streets, collapsed under them. Everett Buck, Ray Harbert, Chris Siebert,3rd., Thomas C. Stewart and Robert Viden, Sr. escaped with their lives from this dangerous fire.

Below is a rare color photo of a fire at Brown's Grocery in 1954.

The Goldman Basket Factory was destroyed in January of 1961. This is the longest fire in Glassboro memory, lasting about 30 hours.

May 1977 saw the destruction of the auditorium at Bunce Hall of Glassboro State College.

 The Weir Furniture Store on North Delsea Drive caught fire in February of 1986.

Hodson Manor, located across from the Police Station on South Main Street
suffered this devastating fire in October 1988.

The Clover/Sav-A-Lot Stores located at Delsea and High Street was destroyed in October of 1993.