RED BANK – The Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department has been recognized for 150 years of service to the community by municipal officials.
During a meeting on Aug. 18, Mayor Pasquale Menna and the Borough Council issued a proclamation honoring the fire department on its 150th anniversary. Members of the fire department will celebrate the organization’s landmark anniversary at a dinner on Sept. 9, according to the proclamation.
The proclamation was read aloud during the meeting by Borough Council President Kate Triggiano, who is a member of the fire department.
According to the proclamation, the fire department was originally a bucket brigade until the Navesink Hook and Ladder Company was founded in 1872. A fire bell was placed on Mechanic Street the following year.
The Navesink Hook and Ladder Company was joined by the Relief Engine Company, the Independent Engine Company and the Liberty Hose Company in 1880. The Union Hose Company joined the fire department in 1890 and the Westside Hose Company joined in 1909.
Today, the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department is comprised of five firefighting companies: the Navesink Hook and Ladder Company, the Independent Engine Company, the Liberty Hose Company, the Union Hose Company and the Westside Hose Company.
The Relief Engine Company transitioned into an auxiliary unit known as the Historic Relief Engine Company, according to the proclamation.
In addition to the five firefighting companies, the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department has a fire police unit that dates back to 1886 and a scuba/dive team that began in the 1950s.
The members of the fire department contributed to the purchase of an ambulance which led to the creation of the Red Bank First Aid and Rescue Squad in 1930.
According to the proclamation, the fire department is recognized for having the first female firefighter recognized by the state when Emma Vernell joined the Westside Hose Company in 1926.
“(Borough officials) commend and congratulate the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department on its 150 years of volunteer service to the community and offer our sincere gratitude to not only its dedicated members, but also to their families who have sacrificed so much in the countless hours their family members have given to the fire service,” the proclamation states.
Triggiano read comments submitted by Fire Chief Nick Ferraro, who was not able to attend the meeting.
“The fire department would like to thank the mayor and council for their support in expressing appreciation for the proclamation,” Ferraro wrote. “The membership is proud to have served Red Bank for 150 years. We take time this year to recognize this milestone, while also honoring those who came before us and those who serve now.
“We are tirelessly working to continue to strengthen our department, to both set a path for the future of our fire department and, more importantly, better serve our community. On the behalf of all members, thank you,” Ferraro added.
Councilman Ed Zipprich said the members of the fire department “are Red Bank’s bravest. We are grateful to all of them for their service and volunteerism. We are lucky to have them.”