HISTORY OF THE PAULSBORO FIRE DEPT. FIRES & RELATED ITEMS 1853-2005

 

1894's

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.

 
1895's

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 badly.

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 and saved.

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.

 
1896's

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

 
1897's

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 Article Section)

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.

 
1898's

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.

 
1899's

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 success.

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 positions.

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.

 
1990's

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.

 
  
 
 
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