Throughout the past 100 years, the members of the Little Silver Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 have faithfully and steadfastly responded to the calls of those in need. Unselfishly rendering aid at a moment’s notice has been the hallmark of all firefighting units, past & present. The Little Silver Fire Company had its beginnings steeped in this proud tradition, in which the legend of the firefighter continues.
The Gibbon’s barn fire on Little Silver Point, April 9, 1906, drew the community together for the final ground work in the formation of the Little Silver Fire Company No. 1. This spectacular fire caused $10,000 in damage, as well as the deaths of four horses, four cows, and a dog. In response to this tragic loss, 40 people met at the Church Hall in Little Silver on April 24, 1906, to take steps in organizing a new fire company. The Shrewsbury Township Committee (Little Silver was part of Shrewsbury Township at that time), gave assurances that 1000 feet of hose would be given, as well as the installation of new fire hydrants. The new hydrants would be placed on Rumson Rd., between Branch Ave & Prospect Ave, and on Branch Ave, between Rumson Rd., and the Train Station. At this meeting 28 persons indicated they would be willing to join the new fire company.
By May 1, 1906, papers of incorporation were prepared & read by attorney Edward W. Wise. Twenty-two enthusiastic charter members signed the application of incorporation May 10, 1906.
Coincidentally, September 11th, 1906 marked the arrival of the first piece of firefighting apparatus, the hand-brake pump fire engine. The engine had to be hand pulled to the fire scene by the firemen & hand pumped as well to spray down the fire. The engine was purchased second hand from Claysville, PA Fire Dept.
Next, a fire house needed to be built. This was completed March 22, 1907. The site was the former Kelly property on Church St. Many of the Fire Company members donated their talents in carpentry, masonry & painting in the construction of this first fire house.
In 1935 the Fire Company took delivery of its first brand new fire apparatus, a 1935 American LaFrance, 12-cylinder engine. This was a 1000gpm pumper costing $14,000. We are proud to say, this pumper resides once again in our firehouse, after being repurchased from a local fire department & painstakingly restored by several members of the company during the late 70’s.
Tragedy struck Little Silver on June 26, 1936, when Mrs. Maude R. Fish, 49 years of age & her granddaughter 2 1/2-year-old Ann Avery Lovett perished in a fire at the home of Venderdeer Lovett due to smoke inhalation. The blaze was extinguished in just 30 minutes, the first test of the new engine. In the 99 years the Fire Company has been in existence, these two deaths are the only loss of human life experienced.
In November of 1951, the department moved to its current location. When it was first completed, our current building consisted of two apparatus bays & a meeting room on the second floor. Due to technology & population growth, our building is now seven bays wide, housing both the Fire Company & the Little Silver Emergency Medical Services, as well as a hall, meeting room & office space on the second floor with a full industrial kitchen. Our current apparatus roster consists of two pumpers, a ladder truck, and a heavy rescue vehicle.