HISTORY OF THE PAULSBORO FIRE DEPT. FIRES & RELATED
1/04/1894 FIRE AT PAULSBORO. Early last Saturday morning,
the residence of Edwin Gregory was discovered to be in flames, and was
soon consumed with its contents. The family recently moved to Paulsboro
and it was known throughout the village that the family was spending the
holiday week with friends in the city. Mr. Gregory came home during the
evenings and slept in the house. He was seen about the premises the previous
afternoon, and it was feared that he had fell victim to the flames. A
thorough search of the ruins, however, failed to reveal any human bones
in the ashes, and this fact, coupled with the fact that the house and
furniture were well insured, has had a quieting effect upon the minds
of the people. The insurance on the property is said to be $4,000 and
besides, Mr. Gregory is said to have had a liberal insurance on his life.
The action of Mrs. Gregory, on her return after the fire, has caused considerable
criticism, and led many to believe that the whereabouts of her husband
are not unknown to her. It is understood that the insurance agents will
cause a thorough investigation to be made before any claims are paid,
as they are inclined to believe that the house was set on fire.
12/18/1894 BUILDINGS BURN AT I. P. THOMAS. The boarding
houses belonging to the I. P. Thomas Phosphate Co., which were occupied
by the hands employed at the company's works, were destroyed by fire this
morning with a loss of about $4000. The flames were discovered shortly
after 2 o'clock coming from the highest building, and owing to the high
winds, the fire burned fiercely. All the buildings were soon a mass of
ruins. All the occupants of the houses escaped without injury. How the
fire started is not known, but it is believed by many to have been the
work of an incendiary.
2/14/1895 HOUSE AND HARNESS SHOP CATCH FIRE. John Wohlrab's
dwelling and harness shop caught fire around 10:30 in the evening from
the chimney. The roof and the upper part of the building were blazing
before the alarm was given. But with the ringing of the church and school
bells, nearly the entire male population turned out with buckets and ladders
and worked with a will. The goods were all gotten out and the fire entirely
put out after burning to the attic floor. Charles Hannold's house was
saved with difficulty it being only fifteen feet from the burning building.
We certainly have good material for a fire company. Many of our young
men fought like veterans. The place was insured for $675 through their
agent W. J. Adamson.
2/26/1895 BAILEY'S HOT HOUSE ON FIRE. Joseph Bailey's
tomato hot house caught fire, from the flue being overheated, and burned
the hay from one side and several hot bed sash before it was discovered
and put out by the neighbors.
6/17/1895 HOME SAVED FROM FIRE. The falling of a lamp
from a table at William Titus's home caused an alarm of fire. But by the
prompt action of those who were present, the flames were extinguished
after burning the table cover, carpet and smoking the paper on the ceiling
9/08/1895 FARMHOUSE BURNS TO GROUND. A fire of mysterious
origin burned the farmhouse at the I. P. Thomas Phosphate farm during
the night. The house, which was used as a boarding house, and occupied
by Mr. Shields, was burned to the ground. The fire started in the shed
where there was no fire. Mr. Shield's household effects were gotten out
10/07/1895 HAY BIN CATCHES ON FIRE. Our town was startled
around 10:30p.m. by the cry of fire. The rick of salt hay belonging to
William Atkinson, at the bridge, was in flames. The bucket brigade turned
out and kept the fire from other stacks close by. Loss is about $200.
10/10/1895 FIRE AT COX'S CARRIGE WORKS. The roof of Cox
& Brothers carriage works caught fire from the forge chimney, causing
an alarm of fire. The workmen in the shops and neighbors who hastened
to their assistance promptly put out the flames.
3/22/1896 HOUSE FIRE CAUSED BY FLUE. John W. Norton was
awakened around 9:00 p.m. by the smell of smoke. He arose to find his
house on fire. He barely had time to get his wife and four children out
when the entire house was in a blaze. The only thing saved was the piano.
They're clothing and furniture was entirely lost, they're being no help
at hand. The loss is about $2000. Mr. Norton thinks the fire started in
a defective flue
3/25/1897 FIRE AT BASKET FACTORY. A fire started in a
bed at the basket factory on Sunday morning and caused some excitement
in this town. Mr. Groff, who lives in the place, could not say how the
fire started. The damage was slight.
8/22/1897 LARGE FIRE AT I. P. THOMAS. (See Large
10/08/1897 HOME ON BUCK ST. DESTROYED BY FIRE. The home
of Michael Donnelly, Buck Street, was almost totally destroyed by fire
at about 11 p.m. Mr. Donnelly had recently put in a new heater, which
was fired up for the first time. A defective flue is being suspected of
causing the conflagration. In the early evening the family had retired,
unsuspecting of any danger menacing their lives, but were awakened by
smoke densely filling the sleeping apartments. It took but a thought to
realize the situation, terror seized the family as they found escape impossible
by way of the stairs, which were already, a mass of flames. Neighbors
were quickly warned of the family's plight, and willing hands soon rescued
the family from the second story windows of the burning building, with
but slight burns. A bucket brigade succeeded in subduing the flames after
a desperate fight, and the fire was finally extinguished. The loss will
probably reach $1500. Most of the furniture and interior woodwork was
destroyed. Kind neighbors sheltered the family.
10/14/1897 SMALL FIRE IN CONNELLY HOME. A fire of unknown
origin did damage to the amount of $50 in John Connelly's home on Saturday
morning. Willing neighbors put out the blaze and the fire was confined
to the downstairs room.
11/15/1897 BARNS BURN AND ANIMALS PERISH. The large barns
on Cooper's farm, occupied by John Densten, were destroyed by fire around
8 o'clock during the evening. Four horses and one calf perished. Also,
30 tons of hay, a harvester and implements of various kinds were also
destroyed. The fire started in the center of the barn and the interior
of the entire structure was in flames when it was discovered. One horse
and several cows and calves were gotten out, although the horse was burned
badly. It was first reported that a valuable 3-year-old colt, belonging
to Luther Jones had been burned in the barn but Mr. Jones said later that
the animal was loose in the field and escaped injury. No clue was given
as to the origin of the fire. The stock loss is estimated at $3500 and
about $4000 on the buildings.
11/02/1898 CRIB HOUSE AND BARN BURN. Joseph Bailey's barn
and crib house, fifty tons of hay, about 700 bushels of corn and other
outbuildings were burned during the evening. No one seems to know how
the fire started. Smoke was seen on the corner of the barn first, where
some children were feeding the chickens. Mr. Bailey was not at home being
in New York on a business trip.
12/17/1898 HOUSE ON FIRE. The house of Mrs. Donnelly,
on Buck Street, was partially destroyed by fire this morning. The fire
started in a wood box near the stove and burned through the weatherboards,
when Mr. Daniel Keenan and other neighbors saw it, who succeeded in putting
the fire out before the house was entirely destroyed. There was no one
in the house at the time. The men had all gone to work at the phosphate
works and Mrs. Donnelly was in Philadelphia.
4/14/1899 PAULSBORO FIRE COMPANY ORGANIZES. A fire company
was organized here when the different modes of fighting fire in a country
town were discussed and a committee was appointed to solicit subscriptions
to membership. A fee of 25 cents was charged to active members and one
dollar to associate members. The people of the town look on the movement
with much favor and seem to take hold of it with a will, which insures
4/21/1899 OFFICERS ELECTED. At the fire meeting the following
officers were elected for one year: President, Frank Locke; Vice. Pres.,
W. Scott Thomson; Secretary, W. G. Cowgill; Financial Sec., J. Paul Miller,
Treasurer, B.G. Paul; Trustees, William Miller; Gill Hannold; J. Murray;
F. H. Creamer.
4/22/1899 STANLEY NAMED FIRE CHIEF. Charles Stanley has
been elected as Fire Chief for the Paulsboro Fire Department. William
MacMullin and Harvey Creamer have been elected to the Assistant Fire Chief's
10/06/1899 BUILDINGS BURN ON SHUSTER FARM. The out buildings
on the farm of Joseph Shuster, occupied by Asa Harker, consisting of 3
barns, a crib house and a wagon shed were burned to the ground around
8:30 p.m. Mr. Harker succeeded in getting his 3 horses and several cows
out in time to save them. Neighbors, who arrived in time, made a great
effort to save the house. The wind was blowing away from the house, which
helped the bucket brigade. Also burned up in the barn were harnesses,
farm implements and about 30 tons of hay. The origin of fire is not known,
but Mr. Harker said that a tramp stopped at the house around 7 o'clock,
but Mr. Harker told the gentleman that he would not harbor him. It is
thought that the person set the buildings on fire for revenge. The total
loss is about $3000. The barns were insured but not the stock or implements.
12/12/1899 FIRE AT WAGON WORKS. The Cox wagon works took
fire this morning from sparks from the forge chimney. The fire was blazing
fiercely on the roof when it was discovered. A bucket brigade of workmen
and neighbors put it out without much damage. The neighbors hope that
Mr. Cox will take measures to prevent a repetition of the accident, as
the town is very thickly settled at that point, and a fire would be a
great disaster to the town.
1/04/1900 CHRISTMAS TREE CATCHES FIRE. A Christmas tree
caught fire at the residence of William Bacon, on Jefferson Street, and
made things lively for a time. Mr. Bacon and neighbors put the blaze out
with a few pails of water. The damage was slight.
20/4/1900 HOTEL BURNS AT LINCOLN PARK. Fire supposed
to have originated from an overheated stove in the kitchen destroyed the
hotel; summer garden, residence and barns of John Hoffman, at Lincoln
Park, entailing a loss estimated at $10,000, with $8,700 insured.
2/28/1900 BUCKET BRIGADE SAVES HOUSE. Paulsboro just
escaped a disastrous fire by the prompt use of water in Mr. Furry's house
on Broad Street, the thickest settled part of town. Mr. Furry got up around
4 o'clock and found the house cold. He lighted an oil heater in the sitting
room and went back to finish his night's sleep. Miss Laura Heppard, who
lives with them, smelled smoke about an hour after and went down stairs
to find the room full of smoke and gas. She gave the alarm and Mr. Furry
came down and opened a back door when the flames broke out, quick work
with buckets of water saved the house, the room and furniture from being
a total wreck. It is supposed that the stove wick was left to high and
blazed to the ceiling. This proves more conclusively that we should have
some fire protection in the town as most of our houses are of wood frame
construction, and with these windy days, a fire started where Furry lives
would sweep the town if not checked.
3/24/1900 OFFICERS ELECTED. The Paulsboro Volunteer Fire
Association has elected the following officers: W.S. Thomson – President;
W.G. Cowgill – Secretary; B.G. Paul – Treasurer; J.P. Miller – Financial
Sec.; H. Lamson – Trustee; S.L.C. Wilkins – Chief; W.C. MacMullin and
G.W. Wilkinson – Assistant Chiefs.
5/10/1900 PAULSBORO FIRE CO. INCORPORATED. Article for
incorporation has been filed in the clerk's office for the PVFA, for the
protection of life and property from fire in the town of Paulsboro, to
continue from April 20, 1900 to April 20, 1950. The incorporates are:
W.S. Thomson, C. Stanley, W.J. Cowgill, B.G. Paul, J.P. Miller, G.M. Hannold,
W.H.Lamson, F.H.Craemer, J.D.Murray, W. Miller.
9/11/1900 MEETING FOR NEW APPARATUS. The Fire Co. had
a meeting to thoroughly organize the company and make arrangements for
the reception of their new apparatus, which is expected in a few days.
9/18/1900 NEW APPARATUS ARRIVES. The Paulsboro Fire Co.'s
apparatus arrived here and is housed Armstrong's barn. It is a complete
machine and will do effective work if properly manned.
9/21/1900 FIRE CO. TESTS NEW APPARATUS AT CREEK. The
Fire Company tested the new apparatus and it proved satisfactory. The
pump works complete. The trial was made at the creek, where water is plentiful,
and it was no trouble to throw a stream of water over Dr. Miller's house,
but we need some kind of water supply, as most of our wells are driven
pipes and would not be available for the suction of the fire pump. Let
us have water works as soon as possible, and then we would be well prepared
for a fire.