Our History:Port-au-Peck Chemical Hose Co. No. 1 Oceanport, NJ
The Port Au Peck Chemical Hose Company #1 was incorporated on March 2,
1916 – that makes us 100 years young.
It all started in 1915 with a small meeting on Morris Place in an old Post Card Factory that was owned by Peter Housechild.
On March 2, 1916 these men filed an application and we were incorporated.
On March 26, 1916 our Charter was granted.
Our first Fire House was on Vreeland Place in an old Chicken House owned by Walter Clerk. It was just big enough to house a Horse Drawn cart with a tank on it.
When they held their monthly meetings, they had to move the cart out so there would be enough room for the members to sit. Ferdinand Vreeland was made President of the Company, after all the street was named after his family.
When there was a fire they had to round up the horses and harness them to the Fire Cart before they could leave the Fire House. And if the horses were not available, the men would have to pull the truck themselves.
Oh, by the way, dues were .10 cents a month. I have read that the stewards always served oyster stew or clam chowder after each meeting.
In 1917 we acquired our first motorized truck; it was a Buick and we paid $300.
for it from Mr. Vreeland. Of all the members, only three had drivers' licenses.
Mr. P. H. Blakeslee was one, and he lived a half mile away from the Fire House so when we had a fire, someone had to run for Mr. Blakeslee.
Then came the rim of a wheel from a locomotive and with the use of a hammer, someone could sound the alarm.
!n 1920 the Ladies Auxiliary gave the men a lot on Port Au Peck Avenue. In January 1922, the building was finished.
In 1923 the Company carried a mortgage of $2,000. Also in 1923 our first alarm Bell was given to us by the West Long Branch Fire Company. In 1924 we purchased a small chemical truck from Allenhurst for $300. The truck had 2 tanks on the back and while riding to a fire, one of the men with a rubber hammer, would break the bottle holding the chemical so that it would mix with the water in the tank. The movement of the truck traveling over the dirt roads was enough to mix the water and chemical. The weight of the water and the weight of three or four men hanging on the back of the truck caused a problem. This was the beginning of the Wheelie Trucks that we see clowns drive in parades.
We were in the old Building on Port Au Peck Avenue for the major part of 61 years. We have been in our new building since 1977- for 39 years.
Mr. Philip Iselin, then President of the Monmouth Park Jockey Club, donated that parcel of land to the Boro of Oceanport. From this point on, our history was made possible by a gentleman here with us tonight. Clement V. Sommers then Mayor of Oceanport, was very instrumental in acquiring, not only the land from Mr. Iselin but also our building which was completely built and then given to the Boro. The building for Fire House use was made possible with a federal grant.
One can easily see that all this was made possible by the time, effort, generosity, and plain hard work of the old timers that came before us. At this point, I must name two outstanding members of our company that devoted many hours of time, effort, and guidance to our Company and for that reason we named two rooms in our Fire House. The meeting room was named after Ex Chief, Life Member, and Past Councilman Felix J. Foggia. The T V room was named the Lyle Hennessey Room. All this was done, not only for the company, but for also for the citizens of the Boro of Oceanport.
Originally written by Byron G. Briggs and Wm. P. Fleckner , 1970.
Be Prepared, Plan Ahead
- Practice evacuating the building blindfolded. In a real fire situation, the amount of smoke generated by a fire most likely will make it difficult to see.
- Practice staying low to the ground when escaping.
- Feel all doors before opening them. If a door is hot, get out another way.
- Learn to stop, drop to the ground, roll if clothes catch fire.
- Install smoke detectors
- Post emergency numbers near telephones
- Make sure you have a safe fire escape method for all situations
- Space Heaters Need Space
- Smokers Need To Be Extra Careful
- Be Careful Cooking
- Matches and Lighters are Dangerous
- Use Electricity Safely
- Be Careful of Halogen Lights