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Aberdeen fire company will celebrate 100th year anniversary


A parade to celebrate a century of serving and protecting its residents for the Aberdeen Township Hose and Chemical No.1 will be staged on June 9 in Aberdeen and Matawan.

The 100th anniversary parade will be launched at noon on this Saturday. The parade will start at the corner of Nutmeg and Lloyd roads, continue down Lloyd Road and end at Lloyd Road Elementary School, located at 401 Lloyd Road in Matawan, according to Aberdeen Township Hose and Chemical No.1 Firefighter and Media Committee Chairperson Sandra Lynch.

At Lloyd Road Elementary School, there will be a celebration event with free food and drink, and live entertainment by The Nerds, according to Lynch.

“I am looking forward to the parade to share our history and accomplishments of reaching 100 years. We are inviting the community and other fire departments from surrounding areas to join the celebration of this milestone. I think it will be a day enjoyed by all and we hope to see everyone there,” Fire Chief John Mocci III said.
Mocci said he joined the fire company in 1980. The term of fire chief is two years and this is his fifth non-consecutive term since 1996.
Currently, 45 firefighters make up the fire company; all volunteering their time to support the community, according to Mocci.
The recognition of the need for fire protection in this area goes back many years. In 1836, an attempt was made to organize the Franklin Engine Company of Middletown Point, which is now Matawan. This apparently never got off the ground and it was more than 30 years before another serious attempt at organizing a fire company was made, according to Lynch.

In 1869, the Washington Engine Company No. 1 of Matawan Township was organized. At that time, the Borough of Matawan was still a part of the township and the company’s jurisdiction included the entire township. However, on Feb. 14, 1872, Washington’s charter was amended limiting their jurisdiction to what is now downtown Matawan. This left the remainder of the township unprotected, according to Lynch. 

For awhile, residents were left on their own for fire protection. The Matawan Borough and Keyport fire departments would respond to some calls, while other fires would go with no response at all, leaving residents and business owners to watch their possessions burn, according to Lynch. 

Some notable fires during this time included the total loss of the Cliffwood House hotel in 1893; the destruction of barns and loss of equipment and livestock in several fires at the William L. Roberts farm on Lloyd Road in 1894 and 1895; and a 1905 doubly fatal fire on lower Main Street in Oak Shades, according to Lynch. 

Eventually, arrangements were made that the Matawan Borough Fire Department responded to some calls in the township, with the township contributing to the upkeep of the borough department. This proved not to be the best arrangement when in 1913, the Township Committee refused to pay a bill of $9 for expenses incurred for responding to township fires. At that time, the borough fire chief reminded the public the borough fire department was “under no obligation in any way whatsoever” to answer township fire calls, according to Lynch. 

Some notable fires occurring in the time of partial protection by Matawan and Keyport were the total loss of Frank Anderson’s basket factory on Atlantic Avenue in 1912; a 1915 fire at the New Jersey Co. brickyard; and an explosion and fire in 1916 at the Po Amboy Chemical Works on Lloyd Road, according to Lynch. 

In the summer of 1918, citizens of Oak Shades, in the central part of the township, got together to discuss fire protection. On Dec. 3, Thomas E. Kearney called a meeting, at which time the Oak Shades Fire Company was organized, according to Lynch.

“I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this fire company and the officers and members that have made this organization what it is today. There have been so many gone before us and I think they would all be just as proud of what this fire company represents to the community and the 100 years of service provided,” Mocci said.

For more information about the parade and celebration, email info@athcl.org.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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