Kearny Fire Department’s mission is to provide for the safety, security and well being of the citizens of the Town of Kearny and, when necessary to assist contiguous communities with our resources.
In cooperation with the governing body, other municipal departments, community groups and the community in general, this will be accomplished through education, training, fire prevention, rescue, fire suppression, emergency medical services and community service.
Since becoming a fully paid Department the men who have been appointed to the Chief of the Department are:
- Knowlton F. Pierce 1921-1931
- John Lone 1931-1932
- Walter Scott 1932-1942
- William G. Wandras 1942-1960
- John M. Sherlock 1960-1965
- Joseph W. Philips 1965-1988
- Vincent DiRenzo 1989-1995
- Bart Bevins 1997-2001
- Joseph Lapsanski 2001-2007
Deputy Chief George Harris was appointed temporary Chief of the Department between the appointments of Chief DiRenzo and Chief Bevins.
Deputy Chief George Carotenuto was appointed temporary chief of the Department before the appointment of Chief Joseph Lapsanski.
Through the course of the years it is unfortunate that we have had two men who gave their lives in the line of duty.
Robert E. Ball-November 12, 1973
Emmanuel Gennace-December 24, 1977
"Their Bravery Lives On With All Of Us Forever."
I am a lifelong Kearny resident and a product of the Kearny school system. In 1986 I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Science from Jersey City State College. Prior to joining the Fire department, I worked for McCabe Ambulance in Bayonne and University Hospital EMS in Newark.
I was appointed to the Kearny Fire Department on October 6, 1984, promoted to Captain on April 1, 1992, Promoted to Deputy Chief on April 2, 2005, Appointed to Acting Chief effective July 9, 2007.
Some of my community involvement includes former softball coach, current Little League coach, Chairman of the Kearny Municipal Alliance Against Substance Abuse and President of Kearny Project Graduation. I am married with three children whom all reside in Kearny.
On September 25, 1880 the "Volunteer Firemen of Arlington" was formed. This came about because of a fire on Aug.18, 1880 which destroyed two homes. The Village residents felt they needed to protect themselves as best as possible. On October 5, 1880, after a meeting was held and all members were enrolled, the name was changed to ”Arlington Hook and Ladder" with a Constitution and By-Laws adopted. Robert Allen was named Foreman, George W. Smith, Assistant Foreman, C. J. Goff, Second Assistant Foreman, F. A. Nichols, Secretary and Jonathan Woods, Treasurer. A second-hand Fire Truck was purchased for $200.00, and delivered on Thanksgiving Day November 25, 1880.
The Kearny Fire Department was organized January 4th, 1888, with John H. Arey being the first Chief. John F. Fullagher and I. F. Newberry, were the first Assistant Chief's.
The first station was in a barn owned by Mr. Bert Roome, at Midland Ave. and Beech St. The Arlington Hook & Ladder Co. then moved to the lumber sheds of the North Jersey Land Co., at the rear of the Presbyterian Church.
On Nov. 6, 1883, the first new Fire House was dedicated. It was located on Kearny Ave. south of Midland and north of the Kearny Ave. school, on the west side of the avenue. The cost of the land was $125.00 and the building was $430.00. These quarters were used until Jan. 30, 1896, when at 1:15 AM, the alarm sounded and the members found the fire to be at their quarters. They saved the apparatus, but the building burned to the ground. On
Nov. 5, 1887, Kearny Hose Company #2 was formed. They were housed in a building adjoining the Township Hall at Woodland Avenue and Kearny Avenue until the present firehouse at 109 Kearny Ave. was completed on Oct. 22, 1907. On Jan. 4, 1888, Kearny Hook & Ladder Co. #2 was formed with a hand-drawn light four-wheeled truck that carried 4 ladders and 8 leather buckets. They were housed with Hose Co. #2. Today they are Engine #2 and Truck #2.
On Jan. 4, 1888, Arlington Hose Co. #3 was formed. They were housed with Arlington Hook & Ladder #1 until the Fire House burned in 1896. They moved to the Parker Barn on Argyle Place until a new Fire House was built at the present location at Midland Ave. and Argyle Pl. in 1897. The old structure was replaced in 1974 by the new modern style headquarters building. On Jan. 9, 1888, Central Hose Co. #1 was formed. They were housed on Tappan St. off Davis Ave. to the east, until Jan. 21, 1901, they then moved to their present location 47 Davis Avenue at the corner of Devon Terrace. They are still in the same building today.
On Sept. 14, 1892 Highland Hose Co. #4 was formed. Originally they were supposed to be housed on Highland Ave. north of Berlin St. ( Liberty St.) on a lot offered by Township Committee member Henry C. Green. Before a house could be built, Mr. John W. Roche offered a 5-year lease, for $1.00 per year, to the Township for two lots on the south side of Halstead St. west of Kearny Ave. Erected in 1895, this is the oldest standing Fire House in Kearny and is used by the Exempts and the F.M.B.A as a meeting hall.
In 1912, the first motor driven apparatus was purchased, in the form of a Chemical Car. This purchase brought about the hiring of the first paid member of the Fire Department. Thomas Croker was appointed to the job of Chief's Driver and was paid an annual salary of $1050.00.
In 1915 the first Hose Wagon, Pumping & Chemical Engine was purchased and put into service. Thomas Rogers was appointed as Engine #3 Driver, with an annual salary of $1500.00. He became the second paid member of the Fire Department.
On August 8,1899 The Gamewell Fire Alarm system was put into service with a number of pull boxes throughout the growing town. Over the years, with the addition of a new switchboard, transmitter and repeater and additional pull boxes. In 1913 there were thirty-three boxes. This system needed to be maintained, George M. Smack was appointed to the job on December 15,1917 at an annual salary of $1600.00. He was the third paid member. By the end of July 1919, there were 21 paid members in the volunteer ranks.
In 1919 Station #4 was opened. It was a combined Police Station and Fire House, on the old Lincoln Highway (now routes 1 & 9), serving the South Kearny district of industry and ship building yards.
Today, we have four stations serving an area of nine square miles with a population of approximately 40,000.