AVALON, N.J., (CBS) — The Avalon Fire Company will celebrate a proud century of service Saturday with a Centennial Celebration, Parade, and housing of its new piece of fire protection equipment.
CBS 3’s Walt Hunter will help lead the festivities which begin at the firehouse at 11 a.m.
It was 1896 when the first fire hydrant, and first two hose carts, arrived in Avalon. The first housing for a motorized piece of apparatus held in 1926.
Back in 1950, as firefighters drove a brand new truck towards the firehouse, they came upon a blaze in Vineland, N.J. and stopped to help their fellow firefighters extinguish it. Newspapers at the time dubbed them “Angels of South Jersey.”
Five years later, on June 29, firefighter Tommy Thompson died in a fire that destroyed the Ice House at 8th and Ocean Drive.
Throughout the years, the firefighters have served around the clock protecting Avalon’s residents and visitors from fires, hurricanes and emergencies on the bay and ocean. In addition to traditional fire equipment, the Fire Company now has a special fleet of watercraft and boats for every type of water rescue call.
One of the greatest challenges ever faced by Avalon firefighters came in 2003. On December 10, firefighters battled a 10-alarmer that destroyed seven of eight buildings in the Windward Harbor complex. Despite the devastating property loss in cruel weather conditions, there were only two minor injuries.
On Saturday, the Fire Company members will join with the community they have protected for 100 years, looking back at all they have accomplished, looking forward to saving lives and property as they move into their second century of service.