A dark night in the late winter of 1919, a cry of fire rings out at Main Road and Sheridan Avenue. The home of John Bartholomew home is ablaze. Neighbors across the street, the Daniel Sanders and Fred Anthony families, rush to aide but were unsuccessful without equipment. The home, unfortunately, was a total loss. Because of this fire and others that occurred in South Vineland, the community started to plan for a local fire company. Surrounding companies from Millville and Vineland were willing to help but their distance was a handicap.
After two preliminary meetings in July and August of 1919 at the South Vineland School, the first organizational meeting was held on September 2, 1919. The following list were the charter members that signed up that evening:
Anthony, Fred R.
Berry, Clarence M.
Birch, Louis R.
Castellini Sr., Charles
Castellini Jr., Louis
Clark, Lyman M.
Conner, Frank B.
Creamer, D. Harry
Davall Jr., Charles
Otto Jr., William
Sanders, Daniel O.
Watts, John A.
Weed, John M.
Officers elected on September 2, 1919 were as follows:
Charles Davall - President (Served two months, September and October 1919)
Daniel O. Sanders - Vice President (Became president in November 1919 until September 1925)
E.E. Howe - 2nd Vice President (1st Vice President on February 3, 1920)
L.M. Clark - 2nd Vice President (February 3, 1920)
John M. Weed - Secretary
Charles Morrison - Treasurer
M.M. Sweet - Trustee (3 years)
J.A. Watts - Trustee (2 years)
R.D. Cookingham - Trustee (Appointed February 3, 1920)
Albert Morrison - Trustee (2 years)
Louis Castellini - Trustee (1 year)
Thomas Crossley - Trustee (1 year)
Ted Castellini - Foreman
Clarence Berry - 1st Assistant Foreman
Charles Morrison - 2nd Assistant Foreman
November 11, 1919 – Motion to locate a permanent site for fire hall.
December 2, 1919 – Commisioner reported Mrs. Della Cheeseman would give a 99 year lease for 100 foot frontage and as deep as necessary on Main Road north of her store.
February 3, 1920 – Discussion regarding erection of new fire house.
March 2, 1920 – Incorporation papers received bill from lawyer Benj. Stevens for $14.00 for drawing up papers.
April 6, 1920 – Title to land received – some difficulty getting a clear title.
May 4, 1920 – Lawyer advised us to pay Mrs. Cheeseman if necessary to secure a release to clear title.
December 7, 1920 – Land surveyed.
October 5, 1920 – Thos. Crossley – Jos. Reed – Wm. Hendricks with power to act to build fire hall 16’ x 32’ of wood.
November 1920 meeting – labor bill of Jos. Reed ordered paid $118.65.
December 6, 1921 – To buy lumber for outside toilet.
May 2, 1922 – Letter of thanks sent to Mr. Alexander for his donation of outbuilding.
1924 – Talked of building a new fire hall. Chief Baumbach reportred that a new bulding would cost about $20,000 or a debt to the Company of $300.00 per month. The information was turned over to the civic association.
July 1, 1924 – That the trustees have full power to act to consummate the trasaction of property and that deed be made out “South Vineland Fire Company No. 1.”
Oct. 7, 1924 – Committee appointed to consulting with Mrs. Cheeseman relative to deeding property.
November 10, 1924 – Committee reported deed property made out and turned over to Fire Commissionsers.
FIRE HALL 1926
February 2, 1926, appropriation asked to build a new hall not to exceed $20,000. Due to shortage of money the fire company helped to dig the cellar. They also supplied the ashes and gravel and spread same on Thanksgiving Day. Bought card tables, shuffle board and a new pool table $302.51. Bought and equipped with furniture (all property including furniture and equipment to be property of Fire District). Charles Ackley auctioned off one-half of the original Fire Hall to South Vineland Boy Scout Leaders. L.S. Riggins and Clifton Sanders money returned to Boy Scouts meeting of Feb. 1927.
1962 – Addition added on to the Main Road Fire Hall to accommodate Brockway Fire truck.
FIRE HALL 2004
In January 2003, the City of Vineland Fire Department Station 2 (and the South Vineland Fire Company) relocated to a new station on East Sherman Avenue - just around the corner from the 1926 station. The new quarters provide ample room for equipment and personnel. A large training room accommodates mothly meetings and training seminars on a regular basis. Members take time to relax in the day room, where the antique pool table was relocated.
Sunshine Society No. 10
Previous to May 13, 1927 when the Ladies Auxiliary was formed, the Sunshine Society of South Vineland acted as Mother and Fund Raiser for the new fire company. Suppers in the Fire Hall at which several hundred attended were put on with the cooperation of the Sunshine Girls. A few items from our minutes are as follows:
November 11, 1919 – Pres. Mrs. Fotergill attended meeting, said they were the first organization to help the Fire Company. They made a donation from proceeds of a supper.
December 2, 1919 – Thanked Sunshine for help and aid at supper.
May 29, 1929 – Donated American Flag to Company.
June 1, 1920, - Gave donation for building fund.
December 7, 1920 – Motion to allow Sunshine Society to hold their meetings in the Fire Hall.
January 3, 1922 – Thanks for a lunch.
December 4, 1923 – Made a donation to fire company.
February 1926 – Monetary gift presented to fire company.
March 1927 – Gave kitchen utensils etc. New Hall. Thanked for help for big supper.
Former members of the Sunshine Society who used to volunteer for the Fire Co.
Mrs. Anna Barrett
Mrs. Ester R. Sanders
Mrs. Margaret McMaster
Mrs. Rose Castellini
Mrs. Walter McCann
Mrs. Robert Rudd
Mrs. Edith C. Clark
Mrs. Leonard Hamann, joined 1926
On November 10, 1924, a committee was named to form Auxiliary.
May 13, 1927 – Organized this date with 31 members – Following officers elected:
President - Mrs. Mary Lally
1st Vice President - Mrs. Mable Howe
2nd Vice President - Mrs. Edith Ranagan
Secretary - Mrs. Mary Smith
Treasurer - Mrs. Ida Baumbach
June 10, 1927 – Mrs. Della Cheesman made a life member.
July 7, 1927 – Banner ordered – cost $125.00 from Horstman, Philadelphia PA. This item hangs in our conference room today.
1919 Ted Castellini - Foreman
1920 John H. Weed - Foreman
1921 George Baumbach - Chief (Position renamed in July 1921)
1923 Charles Davall - Chief
1924 George Baumbach - Chief
1949 Albert Castellini - Chief
1967 Jack Chynoweth - Chief
1984 Phillip Bergamo - Chief
1985 Joseph Letizia - Chief
1998 Daniel Weir - Chief
First fire truck – Ford chassis – 2 Chemical Tanks O. J. Childs Co. Mr. Williams in Newfield to mount apparatus. Total cost for truck and equipment was $1,650. Chassis bought September or October 1919. Equipment installed in December 1919.
October 1919 – Wrote letter to Pennsylvania Rail Road in regard to obtaining iron ring for fire alarm (Rec’d Dec. 1919). Set up in March 1920.
January 4, 1921 – Ordered a siren from La France Company.
June 7, 1921 – Voted to blow siren every hour from 5 to 9 on Friday nights. Motion by John Townsend to blow siren every A.M. at 6.
June 6, 1922 – Asked fire commissioner for self starter and search light for truck.
January 6, 1925 – Motion made and carried that the company recommend to Fire Commissioner the purchase of a white chassis with Buffalo Equipment. We received a red chassis with Buffalo Chemicals tanks and Equipment.
1941 – 1941 Ford Pumper purchased by company.
1953 – Company purchased 1954 Brockway 1000 gal/min pumper.
November 1953 – Boot rack installed on Brockway.
1961 – 1961 Ford Pumper purchased by city.
August 1962 – New tank installed by Cresci Body Works in the 1941 Ford.
1977 - ’78 Dodge Ranger mini pumper, 250 gallon tank, 250 gal/min pump purchased by city. To be called Engine 23. No dedication.
1979 – Ford Continental Pumper, 750gallon tank, 1000 gal/min pump purchased by city, to be called Engine 22. Truck dedicated to Jack Chynoweth.
1986 – 1931 Buffalo restoration started. Restoration completed in 1998.
1998 – Rededicated 1931 Buffalo to Albert Castellini and all currently living and deceased members.
1990 – 1990 Grumman Pumper, 600gallon tank, 1250 gal/min pump, purchased by city, to be called Engine 21. No dedication.
2003 – Transferred 1990 Grumman to station 6. Received Engine 62, a 1994 E-One as replacement for the Grumman. E-One to be called Engine 21.
September 2003 – 2003 Seagrave 75’ Quint, 400 gallon tank, 1500 gal/min pump, purchased by city. Truck to be called Ladder 2. Wood work in truck fabricated/installed by Art Starkey and Dan Weir
March 2004 – 2004 Seagrave Pumper, 1000 gallon tank, 2000 gal/min pump, purchased by city. Truck to be called Engine 22. Wood work in truck fabricated/installed by Art Starkey and Dan Weir.
May 2004 –’04 Ford F350 purchased by city. Truck to be called Brush 2.
August 2004 – Engine 21, 1994 E-one, sent out to be painted red and white, upon return truck was outfitted as a rescue pumper, truck renamed Rescue 2 and later changed back to Engine 21.
Fireman of the Year
1976 - Felix Bergamo
1977 - Aldo Lovisone
1978 - Ralph Jones
1979 - Daniel Fagan
1980 - Ike Merighi
1981 - Jack Chynoweth
1982 - Lou Caregnato
1983 - John Pearson Sr.
1984 - Manuel Wilson
1985 - Don Lovisone
1986 - Dan Weir
1987 - William Bean
1988 - Felix Bergamo
1989 - Louis Montresor
1990 - Joseph Letizia
1991 - Joseph Bergamo
1992 - Elmer Hines
1993 - John Pearson Jr.
1994 - Francisco Torres
1995 - Jeff Kraus
1997 - George Bergamo
1998 - Chris Rodriquez
1999 - John Shaw
2000 - John Gilroy
2001 - Charles Nash
2002 - Bob Mole
2003 - Larry Zukovsky
2004 - Entire Company
2005 - Matthew Robison
2006 - Steve Graiff
2007 - Ryan Feaster
2008 - Robert Sanders
2009 - John Mitch
2010 - To be determined
Exempt Fireman – At a meeting May 3, 1927 a committee reviewing the books found the following 16 men eligible for exempt fireman status, having served seven (7) years with over sixty percent (60%) average.
E. E. Howe
Daniel O. Sanders
John H. Weed
L. M. Clark
Charles Davall Jr.
Clifton E. Sanders
On October 27, 1927, the following members attained exempt status:
On September 4, 1928, the following members attained exempt status: