Following a disastrous fire that swept through the Main Street of the Borough of Englishtown, it became evident to the citizens of the community that the Borough was in dire need of a fire department.
In June of 1904 Mr. W.E. Mount presented an ordinance to the Borough Council of Englishtown to provide means for the extinguishment of fires occurring in the Borough, and to regulate a fire department to consist of 50 members, all of whom were to be elected by the Council, and over the age of 18 years.
On June 27, 1904, at the first meeting of the newly formed department, a motion was made and carried that the name of the company be:
The Applegate Engine and Hose Company of Englishtown, New Jersey.
Having decided on a name, they then proceeded to elect their first officers of the new department. A lot on the corner of Main Street and Tennent Avenue was purchased by the Borough for a building to house the fire equipment, which then consisted of a new Silaby steam fire engine and all the other necessary equipment needed for the proper fighting of fire.
On September 30, 1904, the Hose company was called to the scene of their first fire. The following paragraph is an actual accounting of that fire:
“About noon the wind shifted and in order to save the house the Applegate Engine and Hose Company was summoned, and arrived about one o’clock. The engine was set near a stream about 400 yards from the burning building, and a stream was played on the fire until it was quenched. This is the first fire at which an opportunity has been given the Company to distinguish itself, and the system with which they worked was indeed commendable.”
“The Applegate Engine and Hose Company has a very remarkable way of going to fires” said one of the town’s citizens, “they would be on the way to one fire and they would start another one with the sparks from the steam engine.” The Applegate Engine and Hose Company served the Borough of Englishtown until February 1914, at which time the company was re-designated as the Englishtown Fire Department.
During the years following the re-designation, the Department has greatly improved its position as a fire fighting unit, has kept pace with modern fire fighting tactics and equipment. The Department now consists of 40 volunteer male and female members, 10 junior explorers, and has eight well equipped fire vehicles lodged in a new fire house located on South Main Street.
In 1928 a Ladies Auxiliary to the Department was organized, and has over the many years since, aided and supported the many civic causes and endeavors the Department has devoted itself to.
The Department has, over the years, responded to many alarms of fire, in both the Borough of Englishtown and surrounding areas, and has experienced its share of bringing under control some large and spectacular fires that have occurred in the Borough, namely, the W.F. Mount fire, the Englishtown Lumber Yard fire, the Englishtown Cutlery Plant fire, the Englishtown Auction fire, and the Agway fire.
The Department has, upon request, received mutual aid assistance from the neighboring Fire Departments of the area, and in turn stands ready at all times to extend mutual aid assistance for those Departments whenever called upon to do so. The members of the Department take their job seriously. They accept the dangers and personal sacrifices and work that goes with the responsibility to answer a call, regardless of time or weather. The volunteer firefighter has experienced the smoke, the heat, and the crackle of the flames. With his/her responsibilities he/she gains a comradeship with many others who also devote their time and energies in combating a common cause. The firefighter is proud of his/her service to the community, and the community is justly proud of them.
All of this is the history of the Englishtown Fire Department; colorful, rich in traditions of dedication to the Department, service to the community, and a deep sense of civic pride that has endured throughout.