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Organized in 1935 by summer residents with the aid of the Van Ness Corporation, developers of Breton Woods and other nearby areas, the Breton Woods Fire Company has made spectacular progress. Our district is outlined in green.


From a humble beginning with a second-hand 1929 Hudson, the Company is presently equipped with the latest type of equipment and modern firehouses in Lake Riviera sections of the township. In addition, it boasts of the best-trained personnel in the area. The rolling stock and equipment is the property of the township and buildings are owned and maintained by the Company.

In the latter part of 1935 the Van Ness Corporation purchased a pumper from the New Market Fire Company. It was housed in one of the company's warehouses.


The late William G. Bailey, a member of the Franklin Volunteer Fire Department, was the Fire Company's first Chief, serving in that capacity for four years. Nearly all of the Company's members were summer residents, many of whom came down from their jobs in the city to lend their assistance in the event of large fires.

 

In 1938, after a fire destroyed three houses on Pinehurst Road, a public subscription resulted in the purchase of a new pumper through the Howard Height Ford Company. The truck cost $3,800.00. At the same time, the Van Ness Corporation erected a two-story building on Breton Road, just off Mantoloking Road. It was a single stall structure, the second floor being used as a meeting hall. The Ladies Auxiliary was formed and held Sunday dinners, fair and other events, raising money to maintain the fire engine, equipment, and the building.

 




For a long time, it was the center of all activities, especially during the War years, 1941 to 1945. This was a period when the Company and its Ladies' Auxiliary were faced with raising the necessary funds for maintenance and the purchasing of the needed apparatus. Aid in the form of much-needed fire-fighting equipment and funds were received from many public-spirited supporters.

 

As time went on, it became apparent that the facilities at the Breton Road firehouse were inadequate. Plans for enlarging the quarters and constructing new quarters were considered a matter of necessity. After months of planning and fund raising, the first phase of this project was begun. The firemen made all the improvements on the building including painting and other repairs.


Finally in 1948, the Company had the opportunity to purchase the land upon which it erected a two-story building on the north side of Mantoloking Road. A short distance from the old firehouse on Breton Road.


Construction of the new firehouse began in January, 1953. The building had three stalls, an office on the ground floor with a spacious meeting room, and kitchen facilities on the second floor. The cost was $30,000 dollars.

 

Cornerstone ceremonies were held February 22, 1953, with Louis Rochow, then Mayor, heading the list of dignitaries. A waterproof tube containing records of the Fire Company, Ladies' Auxiliary, articles of record, and current events were sealed in the stone.

When the Company occupied the new firehouse, the old building was moved to the north side of Mantoloking Road and is now part of a row of business establishments and is now occupied by a hair salon, directly across the street from the present day firehouse.

A triple celebration marked the burning of the firehouse mortgage at an elaborate ceremony on October 2, 1960. It included the housing of a new fire truck and the observation of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Company's founding. Martin B. Anton, Mayor at the time, led the list of speakers.

 

Breton Woods' green fire trucks and their unusual insignia have commanded widespread favorable comment whenever seen at parades and celebrations in all parts of the state and beyond its borders. There had been much speculation regarding the selection of the color green for the company's fire pumper truck, but in 1953, it was decided to make the change from the conventional red.

 

The unique insignia which adorns the sides of the fire trucks also deserve and explanation. It had its origin during the second World War when the late Walt Disney designed it for a U.S. Navy P.T. squadron in the South Pacific. Among the squadron members was William E. Manning, one of the Company's past Chiefs, and past chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners in District 1. To conform with the firefighting theme, the insignia was modified by past Chief John J. Rotundo.

 

With the ever-growing population, emergencies increased at a rapid rate, particularly in the field of auto accidents and fires, resulting in the need for a special rescue unit capable of coping with all situations. In August, 1960 such a vehicle was acquired at the cost of $16,000 dollars by the Board of Fire Commissioners, District 1.

 

 

As the Township's population continued to soar, the need for additional firefighting equipment became apparent. With the other three volunteer fire companies, a program of secondary firehouses was launched. Each company selected a location near the community's fastest growing housing and business areas.

Breton Woods picked a spot a short distance from the Brick Plaza in the expanding Lake Riviera housing development. Ground was broken on June 28, 1965. Mayor Frank Neri turned the first spade of dirt, and construction began almost immediately. The cost was estimated at $20,000 dollars.

To raise the necessary funds, the company applied for a State Bingo License, and games began on April 16, 1966. The response on the part of the community was more than could be accommodated. After the new, three-stall fire building was dedicated on May 5, 1966, plans for an additional section to the south side was started. The project was completed in May of 1967.

Residents of the Breton Woods area are proud of their volunteer firemen, who spend many hours every week training and combating fires. Any hour,day or night, people in the Breton Woods area are assured their volunteer fire company is only a phone call away.