West Paterson Volunteer Fire Company No. 1


Fire Co 1West Paterson is protected by three fire companies. Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 was organized on March 10, 1909 by a group of men who lived in the vicinity then known as West Park, a section of the Township of Little Falls. The company was incorporated as the West Park Fire Company.

The original piece of equipment was a two-wheel hose cart. The cart was drawn with a long rope by 15 or more men. The wagon was housed in Tempes Garage on McBride Avenue.

A few years later the company was reorganized and a small shanty on Marcellus Avenue was used as a garage and meeting room. Here, James DeVito was appointed Assistant Chief and John Merkel was appointed secretary.

On July 13, 1914 the new Borough of West Paterson was born and the West Park Fire Company became West Paterson Volunteer Fire Company Number One.

In 1917, the firemen purchased a Diamond-T, the first mechanized fire engine. This truck was in service until 1925. In 1925 a new Reo Fire Truck was bought and housed in James DeVito’s garage. In June of 1927 the men of Company No. 1 built a combination hall and firehouse on the corner of West 35th Street and Newby Avenue. The building was completed in 1928 and payments were made with funds raised by dances and various social functions. But in 1930, that dim depression year, the building was lost in default of payments. The Borough fathers were then approached for a donation of a piece of land upon which to build a new firehouse. They responded by offering land at the corner of Providence Avenue and West 35th Street. Where the present building is located. From that time on, the firemen ran a series of carnivals, card parties and functions to pay for the new building. In 1936 the men moved into the two-story building with fire quarters downstairs and a meeting room and a kitchen upstairs. In 1938, the mayor and council bought the company a new GMC 500-gallon pumper.

In 1941 a Ladies Auxiliary was formed. In 1958, a new firehouse was built with two bays and a hall. Also in 1960 a member’s room and bay were added on. That year the Borough purchased a 750 GPM FWD fire pumper. In 1964 the members of the company built a Salvage Squad, in 1974 the Borough purchased a new Saulsbury Body.

In 1971, the members dedicated the hall to Pasquale Passaretta, who served as Department Chief from 1936 to 1940 and was a member from 1933 to 1971. During the year 1979, Carmen Spero was honored for 50 years of service to the Fire Company. In 1980, Company 1 was asked by the mayor and council to take over the rescue squad. In March 1982, a Hahn 1250 GPM custom pumper replaced the FWD. In October of 1984, the borough purchased a new pager system. Also purchased in 1984, was the “Jaws of Life” vehicle extrication tools. In 1988 George Moussab was honored for 50 years of service to the fire company.

During the year 1992, Eugene Vivino celebrated 50 years of service to the fire company. In 1996, the members dedicated its 1939 GMC Pumper in honor of George Moussab who served as Department Chief from 1953 to 1973 and was a member from 1933 to present. Also in 1996, the Engine room was dedicated in memory of Carmen “Sheik” Spero, who served as President from 1956 to 1959 and was a member from 1929 to 1996.

In 1997, the Borough purchased a new 1997 Simon-Duplex Rescue Truck. Also during 1997, Samuel Reda was honored for 50 years of service. In 1998, Nicholas VanderVoort was honored for 36 years as treasurer of the Fire Company. In 1999, during the celebration of our 90th Anniversary, Edward Gallo celebrated 50 years of service to the Fire Company.

In the year 2000 both Arthur Reda and Nicholas VanderVoort were honored at a dinner for 50 years of service to the fire company. In August 2001 the Borough of West Paterson purchased 3 Pierce Lance Pumpers and a 100’ Pierce Tower Ladder that would replace the 1982 Hahns. A Quadruple Wetdown was held in celebration of the new apparatus on June 1, 2002. On May 22, 2004 we celebrated 95 years of service to the residents of West Paterson with a Dinner and Dance in Little Falls, NJ. Chief Joseph Macones was honored for his years of service to the fire department with a bronze plaque dedicating Engine 1 in his name.

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