Department History

The Volunteer Fire Association

 

In 1894, the Demarest Volunteer Fire Association was officially formed to address the fire protection needs of our town of Demarest.  The fire department actually predates the Borough by about nine years!  The founding fifteen members were led by Mr. J.D. Demarest, the first Fire Chief.  These fine citizens, now organized, volunteered their time and personal safety to protect the town they all loved.  They were on call 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, in rain or shine, just as it is today.  The firemen responded to alarms that was rung from one of two fire rings placed strategically in town.  Based on the series of rings, the firefighters were able to determine what section of town the fire was located.  The original portion of the fire house stored a hose wagon which was powered by a horse team that was supplied by a nearby farmer.

At one time, the borough hall was above the original fire house.  A fire in the late 1970’s nearly consumed the fire house.  It was only thru the valiant efforts of the available firefighters and the all hands-on-deck attitude of the neighbors, that the building was saved.  Luckily damage due to smoke and fire was limited to a meeting room upstairs.  Although all the fire trucks and the building were saved, the Fire Department lost many irreplaceable antique items.  Subsequently, the building was fully restored and renovated to its present state.

Many of our residents may not be aware that the Fire Department actually created the first Demarest Ambulance Corp back in 1961.  Initially staffed by firemen, the ambulance squad fulfilled another much needed service for our ever evolving town.  The added demands on the firemen and constant training requirements eventually forced the department to split off the ambulance squad into a separate organization.

The Demarest Fire Department consists of approximately twenty-five active volunteer members led by a Fire Chief and Line Officers.  In addition to the regular firefighting duties, equipment maintenance and constant training, all members belong to the Demarest Fire Association where each volunteer presides on at least one committee.   

In keeping with the goal of protecting and keeping our fellow neighbors as safe as possible, modern firefighting methods and equipment need to be constantly updated.  Today, the Department has a modern aerial ladder truck, two engines (a new one is on order to replace an aging 1977 Mack engine), a rescue truck which is equipped with the Jaws of Life as well as other tools to handle a wide variety of emergencies. 

As a member of the Bergen County Emergency Management (Mutual Aid), our Fire Department has responded to major incidents in the area, including the Terrorists attacks of 9/11.  Realizing the importance of a well education public, our Fire Prevention program is constantly being updated as new building materials and technology evolve.  We regularly provide programs to the borough schools and other groups (upon request).  Our annual Fire Safety Poster Contest has been a great success as many student and teachers will attest to.  With the ongoing support of the town and our neighbors the Department will continue its long and storied tradition of fellow townspeople selflessly giving of their time to protect our community. 

 

ORIGINAL MEMBERS

Edward Achilles

Frank Achilles

Tyler Austin

S. Bartlett

Mr. Begg

Albert Bishop

Edward Culligan

J. H. Z Demarest

W.E Demarest

F. Dietrichs

George Florence

W. Hardie

Chauncey Haring

J. Helt

C. Hoammond

Ernst Konafe

George Johnson

J. Laufer

H Meyerhoff

Harry Miller

Horace Miller

Jacob Muller

C.A Park

Fred Pietz

A.H Priest

Paul Ruhl

John Sair

Ralph Sairs

Philipp Schneider

H. Steele

Everard Stelfox

Reginald Stelfox

Henry Tamm

S. Taggart

I Tessler

H. B. Thomas

George Tooker

E.P Underwood

J. Wakelee

Seth Wakeley

R. Wheeler

L. White

H. Wisdon