- Humble Beginnings -
Laurelton Fire Company No. 1 was established in 1930 by a group of leading citizens after a serious forest fire threatened several homes in the area. These pioneering individuals held a planning meeting on May 14, 1930 and it was this meeting that led to the organization of the Laurelton Fire Company. In July of that year, the Company's first piece of apparatus was purchased from the Mt. Holly Fire Company for $450.00.
- A Place to Call Home -
1930 - 1934
After using a temporary facility to house it's apparatus for over 2 years, the Fire Company was deeded property at the site of the present Route 88 Fire House by the Laurelton Park Company. The Company's first firehouse, consisting of 2 engine bays and a small kitchen, was built in 1934 and hosted its first meeting in June of that year. A third bay was added onto the original firehouse in 1954.
- Brick Township Creates Fire Districts 1, 2, & 3 -
In 1936, Brick Township enacted an ordinance that divided the Township into three fire districts, each to be controlled by a Board of Fire Commissioners elected by the people in their respective districts. Laurelton was given Fire District Number 2 and to this day, the each District's Board of Fire Commissioners is empowered to submit a budged each year (to be raised by a fire tax) in order to ensure that all future fire-fighting needs are met.
- Meeting the Needs of a Growing Community -
1934 - 1967
While the original firehouse housed all the apparatus of the Laurelton Fire Company, it was nothing more than a three-bay garage and a more modern meeting room was needed and plans were developed in 1960 for an addition to the Route 88 Firehouse. Construction began in 1961 on a large addition to the firehouse, creating a space that could not only be used by the Fire Company but by civic groups as well.
The addition to the firehouse was not the end of expansion for the Laurelton Fire Company - in 1965 property was acquired for the current Station 23-1 at the corner of Midstreams and Jordan Roads. This acquisition was the result of a Brick Township Planning Board recommendation that a firehouse be erected in order to keep pace with growth in the eastern portion of the fire district. In August of 1965, the new firehouse was completed and dedicated to the memory of Robert Folsom, a junior member of the Laurelton Fire Company who died in service to his country during World War II.
In 197X a third station, Station 23-2 was built on Van Zile Road. This firehouse was built to meet the needs of the northern end of the Fire District - and this area continues to grow. Station 23-2 has the capability to hold a variety of apparatus combinations, from 4 engines to an ladder truck and utility/boat combination.
For many years, the greatest hazard to life and property in Brick Township had been forest fires, but with the growth in the Township, much of the woodland and open spaces have given way to housing developments and commercial areas. Combatting structure fires has been the major concern of the Fire Company due to the disappearance of forests in the Township. In the early 1960's, the members of the Laurelton Fire Company attended training sessions at Lakehurst Naval Air Station and spent "on-duty" time with firefighters in Newark in order to hone their skills in the techniques of fire control. Today training is offered by New Jersey State-Certified Instructors and is administered in several locations including the Ocean County Fire Training Center in Waretown and Brick Township's own Fire Training Center.
- Apparatus Keeps Pace with the Times -
The Board of Fire Commissioners have always ensured that the members of the Laurelton Fire Company are provided with the proper apparatus and equipment to protect life and property in Fire District 2. In 1938 the Fire Company's original Cole chemical truck was replaced by a new Diamond T "Smoke Eater", which is still housed in Station 23 and supplemented in 1948 by a Ford "Tank Wagon" with a water tank capacity of 1,000 gallons. In 1958 a Ward LaFrance 1,000 gallon pumper was placed in service and in 1964 a Hahn 750 GPM pumper with 1,000 gallon water tank was purchased.
Today's high-tech apparatus provides firefighters with capabilities only dreamed of in the 1930's - from 2305's capability to rescue trapped victims from upper floors of buildings, to 2303's capability to literally remove the roof a vehicle in minutes in order to extricate those trapped in vehicles, to the first-due firefighting capability of 2301, 2311, and 2321 - the Laurelton Fire Company No. 1 has been equipped and trained to provide the best capabilities in preserving life and property in Brick Township.
- Advances in Communication -
In 1967, there were two ways a resident could call in a fire alarm: Fire alarm pull-boxes were strategically located throughout the Fire District and would summon firefighters and equipment through the sounding of an audible siren when activated. The method of calling in an alarm took advantage of a modern convenience that we may take for granted: the telephone. Residents could pick up the phone, dial the operator, and tell him/her that there was a fire and give the exact location and nature of the fire.
While telephone pole pull-boxes are no longer used, the telephone remains the number one way that fires are reported. Today, a fire can be reported by picking up the phone and dialing 9-1-1. This call is connected to a dispatcher in Brick Township's State-of-the-Art 911 call center who will ask the resident to provide the nature of the call. Today, a system called Enhanced 911 or E-911 automatically provides dispatchers the location of the call when that call is placed from a land-line phone. Wireless callers must remember to still give the location in addition to the nature of the incident as the E-911 system in some areas is not yet capable of automatically determining the caller's location - a capability that will be added in the not-too-distant future.
Once calls for help are received by the 911 call center, firefighters are dispatched via radio-activated portable pagers that are carried by each member. Once activated, the pager acts as a radio receiver and the firefighters can hear the location and nature of the call - and then the firefighters head to the firehouse.
Please remember to yield for blue lights - these are the lights that volunteer firefighters may use on the road when responding to a call. By pulling over and allowing the responder to pass, you can enable a faster response by the fire crews.