Ocean Fire Company No 1 - Station 42

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About Ocean FIre Company No 1 - by Company Historian Thomas Vogel
4200 - Chief's Car

Ocean Fire Company No 1 traces its history back to the early development of Point Pleasant Beach. In October of 1885, a group of citizens met at the Arnold House to discuss the formation of a much needed fire company. As the area was growing so rapidly, it was no longer practical to count on neighborly assistance for fire protection. The membership rolls consists of many of the original families of the area, along with prominent business men and leaders of the time. Shortly thereafter, a meeting was held to elect the very first officers of the fire company, with James McLean being selected as Foreman (Chief and President). The first order of business for the new fire company was to purchase two dozen leather buckets for fire fighting from Johnson's Hardware. In 1887 the very first fire truck was purchased, a Hook and Ladder truck at a cost of $400.00. Arrangements were made to house this truck at the Blue Front Laundry building (now Summit Bank's parking lot). In the late 1800's the fire company built its first firehouse on Cramer Avenue to house its truck. In order to improve its fire fighting capabilities, the company bought a chemical engine in 1892. This engine mixed sulfuric acid with water, making a chemical reaction that pushed water through the hose. This was a great improvement over the bucket brigade. As the company was cramped in its location, a lot was secured on the corner of River Avenue and Arnold Avenue for the construction of a new firehouse, which was completed in 1899. This new firehouse would provide income for the fire company with its rental space. The three floor building housed two business's and the municipal office on the first floor, in addition to the truck bays. The second floor housed a theater and dance hall, with the third floor meeting hall being rented to many different organizations. This building was the focal point of social activities in the town at the turn of the century. The old firehouse still stands today, serving as McLaughlin's Sporting Goods.

In 1901, a new fire alarm system was installed to alert volunteers.  This new system replaced the iron gong that hung in front of the firehouse, which was struck with a sledge hammer to summon firemen. In 1907 the Point Pleasant and Bay Head Fire Company was formed, later to become Point Pleasant Fire Company #2, fire plugs were installed in town, and both companies purchased hose carts to use with the new water system. In 1909, the Borough Council ordered that a Chief and two assistants be elected. This man served as the very first chief of the department.

In 1916, the fire company moved to a new firehouse next door on River Avenue. It continued renting out its old building to various organizations like the District Court and the Board of Education to house their newly formed Kindergarten class. The fire company's coverage area was also larger then, as it is noted that Brick Township was assessed $10.00 for Ocean Fire Company No 1 answering calls outside of West Point Pleasant.

In 1920, the company took delivery of its first motorized vehicles, a Brockway chemical engine and then in 1929 it received its first modern pumper.  In 1964, it was time to move again, as the old firehouse was not big enough to house the modern fire fighting equipment. At no cost to taxpayers, Ocean Fire Company built its new firehouse on the corners of St. Louis and Arnold Avenues. The members raised the money to pay for the construction cost through paper drives, bingo, and various other fund raising events.

Through the years, Ocean Fire Company has responded to many devastating fires. In 1906, a large fire consumed many businesses along Arnold and Bay Avenues, requiring assistance from Manasquan and Spring Lake fire companies. In 1930, the Carlton Hotel, located on property which stretched between Atlantic and Forman Avenues, was destroyed by fire. In 1961, a blaze ravaged the Arnold Hotel (now Borden's parking lot). In 1975, the fire company fought two spectacular blazes. In April, a fire at the foot of Arnold Avenue. destroyed an arcade, police booth, and comfort station along with several amusements. Smoke from this fire was visible as far north as the Raritan River bridge. Then, in September, a fire consumed Martell's Sea Breeze Bar and Restaurant. Most recently, the fire company has responded to large fires at The Wharfside Restaurant, the downtown business district and Jenkinson's Pavilion.

Ocean Fire Company remains a completely volunteer organization. In addition to fire fighting, the company remains very active in the community. In July, along with the American Cancer Society, we host a party for children with cancer and participate in the Elk's handicapped children's parade. In the fall, we participate in a fire prevention fair and visit all the schools in town to teach the importance of fire safety. Every Christmas Eve, Santa Claus and our members bring food and toys to needy families in town.

Today, Ocean Fire Company Number 1 consists of 22 Life and 35 Active members, who respond to more than 150 alarms per year.  All members are state certified fire fighters. We operate with a 2010 E-One Quest Extended Cab Rescue Pumper, which has a 2,000 gallon per minute pump with a seven-man cab and a 1995 E-One 1,750 gallon per minute pumper with an eight-man cab.