|By RON JEFFERS
|Wallington former mayor and fire chief Mark Tomko, right, received an appreciation award for his many years of dedicated service from Chief of Department Robert Ventura during the January fire and emergency squad officer's ceremony.
DOWNS: Four men were charged with theft of a firefighter's coat from a Rahway firehouse that occurred on Nov. 29th. They entered the firehouse shortly after 3 a.m., when firefighters were out on a call. They were all caught on a surveillance camera entering and then rummaging through the offices and building, and they left before firefighters returned, officials said. Charged were: Anthony Gallo, Jonathan Kaye, Alexander Navarro-Gamboa and Nicholas Attansio, all 21.
UPS: On Dec. 1st, members of Paramus Truck 4 assisted police disentangle geese that were trapped in a field safety net at the Paramus H.S. Athletic Field. All geese were rescued and continued on their way.
DOWNS: A Robbinsville man severely burned himself after starting a fire while working with an oil burner in a one-family home on Windson Rd., on Thanksgiving. The victim was taken to St. Barnabas MC and was expected to recover, authorities said.
UPS: Rich Applegate was promoted to fire lieutenant in the Meadowlands F.D.
DOWNS: A man was killed, and his daughter and another person injured, during an overnight fire involving an Amboy Ave. dwelling in Florence, Dec. 3rd.
UPS: North Arlington Police Officers Nicholas Valakas and Mark Ballantyne used a garden hose and fire extinguisher to extinguish flames that engulfed a shed fire on Arlington Blvd., Nov. 8th. The owner carried out his motionless dog. The officers took the dog and began chest compressions, assisted by Firefighter Mark Conningham. North Arlington EMT James Sackerman attached an oxygen mask to the pup. P.O. Ballantyne then drove the pet to Veterinary Care of Clifton, accompanied by Sackerman. The dog was stabilized there and then transferred to Oradell Animal Hospital, in Paramus. “Darla (the dog) made a full recovery for respiratory arrest and minor burns,” said Police Captain Robert Reilly.
DOWNS: A 3-alarm fire consumed all floors of the rear of a Hillside Ave. dwelling in Union, Dec. 1st. Firefighters rescued a woman from a 2nd floor window, Fire Chief Mike Scanio said. The victim sustained burns and was taken to St. Barnabas MC. Another occupant self-extricated the house and was taken to St. Barnabas MC for smoke inhalation.
UPS: Benjamin McHugh has been appointed to the Millburn Fire Department.
DOWNS: A fire consumed a dwelling in the Liberty Corner section of Bernards Twp., Nov. 30th, that took about four hours to control, said Liberty Corners Fire Chief Ron DePasquale. Fire units from nine towns were called in to assist.
UPS: Summit Fire Lt. & Fire Sub-Code Official Joseph Moschello received the 2019 Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) Fire Official of the Year Award. The award is given annually by the NJ Chapter of the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA) to an inspector that follows the standards established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for enforcing requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation, or a procedure.
DOWNS: Nine cats were killed in a fire that gutted a dwelling in the Pine Ridge section of Manchester, Dec. 8th. The cats lived inside the home. One person who lived there was not home at the time of the fire.
UPS: Millburn Fire Captain Steve Jason has been designated as the fire department's new training officer.
DOWNS: About 13 school buses were damaged when flames ripped through an Evergreen Place depot in East Orange, Dec. 10th.
UPS: On Dec. 10th, Jersey City Fire Department members Anthony Klocko, Paul Tremitiedi, George Conroy and Pat Ducey visited the Wounded Warriors & Armed Forces at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. The firefighters presented their heroes with FDJC T-shirts showing their support and thank you cards signed by members of the department.
DOWNS: Fire engulfed the Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Franklin Lakes, Dec. 11th. Local resident James Mayers, 26, was charged with first-degree aggravated arson and burglary by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office Arson Investigations Unit. The unemployed man was quickly taken into custody by local police after the fire broke out at 1:30 a.m., officials said. Mayers “entered the structure during the early morning hours and purposely started the fire with the use of gasoline and a cigarette lighter," Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said.
UPS: On Dec. 12th three West Berlin firefighters were honored for rescuing a woman from a burning apartment at Lindenwold Towers, in Oct. Fire Chief Joe Jackson awarded Lt. Mark Mondile, Lt. Donovan Mihalick and FF Dominick Jackson with the township's valor award.
DOWNS: A multiple-alarm fire involved a building that contained a truck repair shop on Hamburg Tpke. in Wayne, Dec. 9th. Officials believe the fire may have been started by sparks igniting during metal work in a truck shop in the rear of the structure. The fire caused portions of the roof and walls to collapse and oil began to leak into a nearby brook and the Ramapo River.
UPS: Talk show host Rachael Ray and actor Denis Leary visited Edison Firehouse 4, Dec. 16th, to formally announce the department had been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Leary Firefighters Foundation to purchase a Lion Digital Fire Training Panel. This device is used to teach residents, businesses and children how to properly use a fire extinguisher.
DOWNS: A candle may have been the cause of a fire that involved a one-story dwelling on Lakeview Dr. in Andover, Dec. 9th, officials said. One occupant was home at the time and was not injured.
UPS: Moorestown volunteer firefighter Max Fisher has been named Moorestown's Citizen of the Year for 2020 by the Moorestown Service Club. In addition to his 48-years as a firefighter, he says his greatest achievement has been his participation in the Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development (MEND). This is a non-profit organization founded by several local churches, and it has been a beacon of affordable housing in Burlington County since 1969.
DOWNS: A multiple-alarm fire at the Bayshore Recycling Center building in the Keasbey section of Woodbridge sent black smoke into the sky and caused a large response from mutual aid fire companies and fire boats, including from the FDNY. According to a report, water flow totals from tanker operations consisted of three fill sites, 24 tankers and 552 loads. A total of 1,934,100-gallons of water was delivered.
UPS: Hackensack firefighters used Ladder 1's aerial ladder to rescue two workers that were stuck above ground in a bucket truck on The Crow's Nest property, Route 17, on Dec. 18th. The workers were evaluated by EMTs and they refused any additional treatment.
DOWNS: A home on Sylvan Rd. in High Bridge suffered extensive damage as the result of a fire on Dec. 10th. Two residents were displaced, officials said.
UPS: In December, members of the Wildwood City Fire Department dedicated a plaque at Juniper and the Boardwalk in memory of Lt. Joseph Walto, who died in the line-of-duty at the disastrous Ocean Pier fire on Christmas Day, 1943. During the ceremony, the Wildwood Fire Company's 1932 American LaFrance pumper, that was at the scene of the fire, was brought to the Boardwalk. The bell on the engine was used to sound the 5-5-5 signal for Lt. Walto.
DOWNS: More then a dozen people were displaced from their apartments where a fire broke out on Lord Ave., Bayonne, Dec. 17th. Arriving firefighters found fire on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the two-family home, according to Fire Chief Keith Weaver.
UPS: A North Middletown man ran into a burning Mountainside Ave. home, Dec. 18th, and pulled the sleeping occupant to safety. Robery Clancy said he was putting his recycling out to the curb at 7:50 a.m. when he noticed dark smoke coming from his neighbor's house. Clancy knew the 74-year-old resident had just returned from the hospital and used a walker to get around.
DOWNS: A 2-alarm fire displaced 19 people at 247 Broadway, Bayonne, Dec. 19th. The building included five apartments and a restaurant. It suffered heavy damage and was demolished.
UPS: For the 31st year, Summit firefighters and Santa visited the pediatric floor of Overlook Hospital with gifts, and to spread some holiday joy, on Christmas Eve.
DOWNS: Low water pressure and cold temperatures hampered firefighters as they battled an early-morning fire in a three-story commercial building on Main St., Netcong, Dec. 22nd. Part of the structure collapsed during the 3-alarm fire.
UPS: In December, the AtlanticCare Trauma Center and the AtlanticCare Foundation gave 11 trauma go bags to Galloway Township officials and fire department volunteer company representatives. Each bag has materials the local rescue task force teams could use to provide initial treatment for at least five people in a mass casualty incident.
DOWNS: Two Summit residents were forced to jump from the second-floor of their Weaver St. home during a fire, Dec. 26th, officials said. The two were taken to a local hospital, but their injuries appeared to be non-life-threatening, according to Fire Chief Eric Evers. One firefighter was injured and treated at the scene.
UPS: Recently promoted to deputy fire chief in Trenton were Cliff Willever and Lou Bainbridge.
DOWNS: Firefighters battled a multiple-alarm fire at the Arzee Building Supply Center on Franklin Tpke., Mahwah, on Christmas Eve morning. All five Mahwah fire companies plus mutual aid from Bergen County and Rockland County, N.Y., units went to work as flames lit up the morning sky.
UPS: James Scott has been promoted to battalion chief in Trenton.
DOWNS: An overnight fire on Dec. 27th ripped through the Cosmo Bella Restaurant on Newark-Pompton Tpke., in Pequannock.
UPS: New fire captains in Trenton are Frank Wilcox, Andre Ortiz, Scott Seidl, Steve Muni and Lou Negron.
DOWNS: A Mountainside home on Corinne Terr. sustained severe fire damage on Dec. 23rd. First responders arrived to find the breezeway between the garage and house heavily involved in fire. The two occupants safely self-evacuated with their dog, Police Chief Joseph Giannuzzi said.
UPS: John Taylor has been promoted to deputy fire chief in Hackensack. Calogero Trapani was promoted to captain, and Kurt Nemeczek is the new lieutenant.
DOWNS: One person was killed as the result of a dwelling fire on Rutgers Lane in Parsippany, Dec. 29th. The fire was being investigated by the Morris County Prosecutor's Office Arson & Environment Crimes Unit.
UPS: Michael Weiss has been promoted to Deputy Chief of Operations in Teaneck.
DOWNS: Fire claimed the life of an elderly couple at a Myrtle Ave. home in Butler on New Year's Eve. Their pet cat also perished.
UPS: Richard Burchell was recently promoted to battalion chief in Teaneck.
DOWNS: A New Year's Day fire raced through the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Headquarters in Alpine, destroying same according to officials. Multiple fire units were called in including tankers due to water pressure problems. Because it was a law enforcement building, agencies that responded to the scene came from the Bergen County Prosecutor's Arson Investigations Unit, NJ State Police, NJ Fire Marshal's office and the Division of Fire Safety, according to The Daily Voice. Later, an unidentified electrical problem was listed as the cause of the fire, authorities said.
UPS: Christopher Robbins is the new fire captain in Teaneck.
DOWNS: Two people died and 32 others displaced as the result of an early-morning 2-alarm fire in an Island View Court apartment building in Bayonne, Jan. 3rd. Two victims were removed from the apartment and transported to Bayonne Medical center where they succumbed to their injuries, according to a local O.E.M. Facebook report.
UPS: Jason Sorrenti and Leonard Hanauer have been promoted to fire lieutenant in Teaneck.
DOWNS: A Totowa man was killed and his mother rescued in an early-morning fire involving a dwelling at Gordon & Chamberlin Ave.'s, Dec. 28th. Officials said the 62-year-old man was trapped on the 2nd floor after the fire broke out. His 89-year-old mother, who lived on the first-floor, was rescued by firefighters who found her on a couch.
UPS: In December, members of the Beachwood F.D. delivered a 1936 American LaFrance pumper to the New Jersey Firemen's Home in Boonton, where it is now on display in their museum. Past Chief Donald Wienser purchased and restored the rig in the 1970's. It originally belonged to the Irvington F.D., according to a Facebook post. Chief Wiesner was a long-time manager of the home representing Ocean County. He is currently a guest, residing at the facility. Next to the home is the museum that Chief Wiesner helped create when he was on the board of managers. The chief and the 1936 pumper are back together, again.
DOWNS: Fire officials in Elizabeth were investigating the cause of a fire that tore through a three-story rooming house on Westfield Ave., early New Year's Day. Igniting fireworks was listed as a possibility.
UPS: New Wallington fire department and emergency squad officers were sworn in at a ceremony at Company 2's quarters on January 4th. Mark Tomko received special recognition for his 44-years of service to the department, plus his service to the community as a commissioner and mayor. Chief of Department Robert Ventura praised Tomko for all of the support he has give the fire department over the years. “Thank you for where we are,” Ventura said. Part of an inscription on a plaque that he received said that his “Selfless and tireless service to all of us has not gone unnoticed.” Tomko called the department “my family.” During his many years of service he referred to the term “price tag". “Never say never for the safety of the citizens of your town,” he added. His service is not done. During the ceremony, Tomko was sworn in as the department's president.