Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Frelinghuysen Fire Dept. Gets Accreditation

Frelinghuysen’s fire department will be active March 1. Photo by Joe Phalon.

Frelinghuysen Township will have an active fire department Friday. 

The State of New Jersey Division of Fire Safety has given its approval for the Frelinghuysen Township Volunteer Fire Co. Station 84 to roll out service beginning at 12:01 a.m., March 1, said Mayor Keith Ramos. 

Station 84 will be the first fire department built from the ground up in more than 30 years, according to the Division of Fire Safety. 

The announcement was made at the February 21 township committee meeting, which had a large turnout of residents. Unlike the previous month, however, when an equally large number of attendees turned rancorous at several points, the most recent meeting was largely free of disagreement. 

Proposed in early 2022, the ordinance to establish a fire department for Frelinghuysen was approved unanimously by the township committee in April of that year. In the past two years, the township has taken delivery of three fire trucks donated from other departments and converted the Department of Public Works garage into a functioning firehouse. 

More than a dozen volunteers have been sworn in as members and eight have graduated the fire academy, Ramos said. 

“We knew the road would be long and challenging, filled with numerous obstacles,” Ramos said. “Despite this, the committee stood firm in our resolve and commitment.”

While embraced by many, the new department was met with resistance from others. Some questioned the financial viability of the department while others felt the existing arrangements with neighboring fire departments was sufficient for coverage of Frelinghuysen. 

The township has long been covered by fire departments in Green and Hope, both departments that count Frelinghuysen residents as volunteers. Ramos has said increasing payments to those departments for coverage that have increased dramatically in recent years is one of the reasons the committee decided to form its own department. 

Another was that Ramos said he simply felt the township would be a safer place to live with its own fire department. 

By having its own department, Frelinghuysen would lower its payments to the neighboring departments, which while rarely spoken out loud, has resulted in some of the resistance to the new department. 

Agreements between municipalities for fire coverage is separate from mutual aid regulations. In other words, when additional manpower and equipment are needed at the scene of an emergency, other departments, under mutual aid, are dispatched without regard to any existing agreements.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.