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Red Bank Council approves reducing fire companies to five

The Red Bank Borough Council approved the first reading of an ordinance reducing the borough’s six active fire companies to five.

The Executive Council of the borough’s fire department has determined the public interest is no longer served by the borough’s recognition and maintenance of Relief Engine Company as an active firefighting unit within the fire department, according to the council agenda.

The Borough Council approved the first reading of the ordinance on Feb. 28 during its semi-monthly meeting at the municipal building.

The second and final reading of the ordinance will be on March 14, according to Mayor Pasquale Menna.

The executive council has further determined the public interest would be best served by having the members of Relief Engine Company who choose to remain active firefighters do so as members of one of the five remaining active fire companies including: Navesink Hook and Ladder Company, Independent Engine Company, Liberty Hose Company, Union Hose Company or Westside Hose Company, according to the council agenda.

“The department embarked upon a path of consolidation several years back starting with the closure of one firehouse over on White Street and another one over on Mechanic Street and moving those departments into common housing. Then we dropped one apparatus from our inventory from the fire equipment and moved that to the west side of town,” Fire Chief Stuart Jensen said. “It kind of left one company in a limbo state and the question was how do we continue this consolidation, but recognize the company and recognize the members and not just their service, but the generations of service in that company.”

The Executive Council does recognize the history of Relief Engine Company, the dedication of its members and years of service to the borough. It is respectfully requested to designate Relief Engine Company as an auxiliary unit of the fire department as a historical company and its members shall be provided with all such benefits as are available to members of the established auxiliary units of the fire department, according to the council agenda.

The newly established “Historical Relief Engine Company” may accept membership from any current active member of the fire department, as well as associate members who do not necessarily qualify as either active or active associate members of a fire company or are not affiliated with any fire company, according to the council agenda.

By turning the Relief Engine Company into an historical company, Jensen said it will “preserve it as a support organization with an historical designation and an historical mission for preserving history within the department, which keeps it as a continuing entity, not a firefighting entity.”

“From a preservation and honor and recognition of the service, I think it does a good job in that respect. For me, as chief of the department from an operational and command structure standpoint, it makes things a lot cleaner. So I am very happy with it,” Jensen said.

For more information visit www.redbanknj.org/agendacenter.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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