History was made in 1927 when a group of civil-minded men organized Brick Townships first fire company, known as Pioneer Hose Co. A devastating forest fire in the spring of 1926, which roared uncontrolled through the southern section of the Township, was the genesis of Pioneer Hose. Truly comparable to the early pioneers of America who sought to develop new horizons, the aims and goals of Brick Townships first fire department was and still is to pioneer in ways of easing human danger and suffering. It was appropriate, then, that the covered wagon was chosen as the symbol for Pioneer Hose Fire Co.
These men, then and still today, volunteered 100% of themselves and their free time to their community, for no renumeration. Remember these proud volunteers.
- Humble Beginnings -
The founders of the Pioneer Hose Fire Co. emanated from the Patriotic Order of Sons of America. A single truck, a 1927 4-cylinder Chevy equipped with only a few tanks, buckets, and shovels, represented Brick Township's only fire protection for the ensuing three years.
The first official Fire Chief was Ennes Gant, who became a traditional figure in Pioneer Hose Co. His contribution of himself and his services was overwhelming.
The business of the early meetings typically revolved around the cost of operations. At the August 15, 1927 meeting, a motion was adopted that if the company ever ran short on funds to make the monthly payments on the fire truck, each volunteer member would be personally required to pay his pro-rated share, insuring the area uninterrupted fire protection. What dedication!
On November 10, 1927, William Miller Sr. was appointed a committee of one to purchase the towns first fire alarm system, a large bell obtained from Bay Head Fire Company. In the summer of 1931, the company purchased a new 1931 6-cylinder Chevy. Cream color at delivery, it was repainted in 1935 the traditional fire-engine red.
Prior to completion of the fire house on Drum Point Road, the firefighting equipment was housed in Ennes Gant's garage on Adamston Rd
In 1938, the firefighting equipment was moved to the Lodge Hall of the Patriotic Sons of America this building is still in existence at 307 Drum Point Road.
- Onward -
In 1940, the District 1 Board of Fire Commissioners purchased a 1940 Dodge 500 GPM pumper. Shortly before delivery, the fire company moved into its present fire house at 312 Drum Point Road.
In 1946, a custom-built fire engine on a Ford chassis with a 200 GPM pump and a 600 gallon tank was purchased. In 1954, the building was remodeled by moving the original building back and adding a three bay truck room.
At the dedication of the new building in 1954, the fire company also housed a new 1954 750 GPM Ford pumper capable of carrying 860 gallons of water and equipped with the most modern equipment. This replaced the obsolete 1931 Chevy.
In 1960, another 750 GPM pumper joined the ranks of Pioneer Hose Co. The truck was able to handle the foam agents necessary to fight oil fires, and was equipped with the most modern equipment available.
In 1964, Pioneer Hose acquired a 1964 GMC four-wheel-drive pumper with a 100 GPM high pressure pump.
In 1966, the company built its second fire house on the barrier island to provide better protection for Brick Township's beachfront residents.
In 1968, Chief Preston Skillman visited the Hahn plant to inspect a ready-for-delivery yellow truck, being delivered to the Mt. Bethel Fire Co. Chief Skillman returned with color photographs of the yellow truck, and it was learned that a study performed by Dr. Alden N. Haffner, Executive Director of the Optometric Center of New York, showed that bright yellow is "many times more visible than the traditional red". Soon thereafter, the members voted to have their new truck painted chrome yellow, as a test. Thus the early introduction of a yellow fire truck in New Jersey.
By August 1973, a Hahn 1500 GPM pumper was housed. Interestingly, by this time, all Pioneer Hose apparatus had been repainted yellow.
1975 opened with the need for yet another addition to the firehouse, to house a new 85-foot Young aerial ladder.
The proud history of Pioneer Hose lives on through all of its volunteer members, past and present.