This firehouse at 128 Water Street (between Main and West Street bridges - opposite of Albion Street) was built in 1861 to house Protection Engine Company 5 (originally organized in 1832) of the Volunteer Fire Department.
In 1888 the Fire Department was reorganized by a special committee consisting of Aldermen Macdonald, Miller and Kearney, and a paid department succeeded the volunteer system on March 20th, 1890, with four permanent men in nine engine and three hook and ladder companies, and eight call men to each. The call men consisted of eighteen engineers for the engines as well as the chief, and two assistants. The transition from a totally volunteer department to partially paid occurred on March 20, 1890. At that time Protection Steam Fire Engine Company Five became Engine Company 5.
November 15, 1895: the Fully Paid Department begins: First Manpower Assignment for Engine 5
Captain Christopher Cubby Engineer Thomas Donahue Driver John Lair Hoseman Leonard Hartley
Driver Thomas Fish Hoseman Thomas Halliyell Hoseman Thomas McGill Hoseman Frank Conners
Captain Christopher Cubby
Chronological Listing of the Apparatus at Water Street Firehouse
March 1890: 1884 Second Size Silsby Steam Fire Engine (Serial # 782) with a Sowerbutt Hose Wagon, in good condition, which carried 700 feet of hose, and two 3-gallon extinguishers and one roof ladder.
Some of the men in above photo are Captain Cubby, Jack Gorman, Jim McMullen, Tom Haliwell, Adam Banghart, Buck Standard, Bill Milnes, John Specht.
Early photo of Engine 5 members in front of FF (with the old doors). Captain Cubby is in front second from right
1903: First Size Metropolitan Steam Fire Engine. Note the writing [High Water] above the head of the fireman who stands second from the right. It indicates the height the Passaic River reached during the Great Flood of 1902.
Circa 1903: Seagrave Hose Wagon with a Hart Water pump.
January 30, 1904: Engine 5 steamer pumping at the Ashley Bailey Mill fire
1908: Standing left-right: Thomas Hunt, Edward Ball, William Shane, Frank Boyle, Robert Dunphy, Herbert Croughan, Thomas Donahue, Peter Ihrman. Sitting Robert Wright, Captain Christopher Cubby. Note the high water mark on the firehouse, a remnant of the 1903 flood.
1909 Ball Book Photo
Scan of original photo
1909: Captain Chris Cubby
February 1912: Nott Propelling Tractor attached to 1903 Metropolitan Steam Fire Engine and a Sampson Auto Chassis was put on the Hose Wagon.
March 9 1912: The now motorized Engine Company 5 and Hose Wagon moved to the new Central Fire headquarters at 115 Van Houten Street.
March 19, 1912: The Water Street firehouse quartered newly formed Engine Company 12 which used the 1903 First Size Metropolitan Steam Fire Engine of Engine Company 5.
January 10, 1913: The Water Street firehouse closes its doors as Engine Company 12 moved to new quarters at 36 Circle Ave (at intersection of Clinton and North 3rd Streets.