The SUPREME SACRIFICE
Paterson erected a Firemen's Memorial to the honor of Paterson Firemen who lost their lives in the performance of their duty. The monument was placed at Post Office Plaza on March 12, 1941, then third anniversary of then death of five heroic firemen who met death in the collapse of the Quackenbush warehouse. Immediately after the tragic occurrence, which saddened not only members of the fire department, but the entire populace of the city, the Morning Call sponsored a campaign for funds to honor the memory of these men and those who bravely met similar deaths before them.
Through the generosity of the business men and citizens generally. the fund was brought to a successful conclusion and the movement launched by the Morning Call was accomplished. The names of all the members of the Paterson Fire department who gave their lives upholding their oath to protect the lives and property of the citizens of Paterson will be suitably inscribed upon this memorial and will forever be an honor to the brave men who died in the performance of a sacred duty, as well as in inspiration to their bereaved comrades who must and will carry on.
The St. Florian (patron Saint of Firefighters) pin was issued in 2015 to commemorate the first annual Red Mass at St. Gerard's Church in Paterson. The mass honors those in the Paterson Diocese (Passaic, Morris and Sussex Counties) who have made the Supreme Sacrifice.
May 31, 1961 service at Monument (then at Federal Plaza by Post Office)
The monument was moved to the Hillcrest Firehouse at the corner of Union and Berkshire Avenue in 1982.
The monument was refurbished and moved to the McBride Avenue Fire Headquarters and rededicated on June 5, 2016. At this time the name of the 5 members of Paterson's Volunteer Department as well as Auxilliary Firemen killed in action were added
The fire department has added a additional way of honoring those who have made the supreme sacrifice: A bell (formerly of Engine 1) on a wooden base with a memorial plaque: the bell will be re-chromed and the names of each of the 27 will be added. The base was finished and bell mounted by Captain Michael Tromellen's Father and the engraving was done by Captain Scott Parkin.
Volunteer Department (pre-1890)
Fireman Patrick Brophy lost his life while battling a fire in 1865 at the Allen Reynolds & Co. Tobacco Company on Van Houten Street.
Fireman James Johnson died in the line of duty July 1868. Overcome by heat at The Danforth shop on Market Street fire
Partially Paid Department (1890-1895)
Fireman James H Moser of Engine Company 1 (callman) was killed by an exploding soda water tank July 9, 1891
Fireman Richard Duffy of Truck Company 1 (callman) was thrown from the apparatus and died the next day after surgery on December 6 1891.
Fireman Christopher Murphy of Truck Company 3 (callman), was fatally injured falling off the apparatus on May 5, 1893
Fireman Harry Kelley
Fireman Kelley of Engine Company 7 died when he fell off a ladder at the Hinchliffe Brewery General Alarm fire on January 15, 1904. The newspaper report below were at first optimistic on Fireman Kelley's injury.
Acting Assistant Chief William Cook
Three days after fire
Fireman Edward Tribe
Fireman Marinus Baker
Fireman David F. Johnstone
Fireman John P. O'Neil
Letter from Police and Fire Commission Board to Mrs. O'Neill
Fireman Allen Saal
Photo of the scene and ladder from which Firefighters O'Neil and Saal died
March 12, 1938 - A Day That Lives in PFD Infamy
The Quackenbush Warehouse Fire
5 Firefighters Lost
The following men were all killed in a wall collapse at the Quackenbush Warehouse 4th Alarm Fire at 55-57 Prospect Street
Deputy Chief James Sweeney running out of Headquarters at 115 Van Houten Street
Captain John Davenport of Engine Company 5
Fireman Matthew R. O'Neill of Engine Company 5
Fireman Louis Rodesky of Engine Company 5
Fireman William J. Lynch of Engine Company 5
The Quackenbush fire was the third incident in a decade to claim the life of more than one Paterson firefighter.
Below are Ball Book Photos
The Paterson Fire department also had 10K gold engraved medals made
Appreciation Cards from widows sent to Board of Fire and Police Commissioners. (from the Dayspring Collection)
Unveiling of the Firemen's Memorial Monument at Post Office Plaza on March 12, 1941
Unveiling of the Monument Program
May 30, 1962: Firemen visit the grave of Louis Rodesky and other departed firefighters
Fireman August Schneider
Fireman August Schneider of Engine Company 4 was thrown from the apparatus during an accident at Grand and mill Streets while responding to a brush fire on Van Houten Street on August 19, 1942. He died on August 21.
Chief's Aide Joseph Dow
Chief's Aide Joseph Dow was killed in a collision at Broadway and Madison Avenue while driving Acting Chief Kennedy to a 3rd alarm fire on July 26, 1951. He died at 1:30 AM on July 29, 1951
Captain Lester Reiche
Captain Lester Reiche of Engine Company 3 collapsed from a heart attack and died at a 306 Ellison Street fire on March 4, 1961. Shown here with Engine Co 3 Ahrens Fox apparatus
Captain Frank Mancinelli
Captain Fred Armona
The fire alarm attendant working that day (Jack Baker) reported: "We had a second alarm fire on River St & 4th Ave, Engine 11 (located at Grand Street Firehouse) relocated to the Riverside firehouse as Engine 3X. They were dispatched to a still alarm on East 16th st near 4th Avenue for a rubbish fire, caused by embers from the River Street fire. At that
location a civilian reported to Captain Armona that the church on the corner of East 19th and 4th Avenue was on fire. Engine 11 (3x) picked up from the East 16th Street rubbish fire and notified fire alarm that they were responding on a verbal alarm to a reported church fire. Upon their arrival Captain Armona reported a 10-5 (working Fire ) at the church and Station 638 was sounded. The fire went to a 4th alarm and Captain Amona made the ultimate sacrifice: six firemen were in the building as the roof and walls of this 1911 church collapsed." All but Captain Armona escaped.
April 5, 1976: Memorial plaque placed at 97 Grand Street Firehouse of Engine Company 11
Fireman Thomas Calamita
Fireman Thomas Calamita of Engine Company 2 died at an 84 Lyons Street fire (Station 288 sounded at ~5:24 AM) on May 8th 1978. It was a vacant two and 1/2 story frame dwelling.
Fireman John Anthony Nicosia
Fireman John Nicosia of Engine Co. 4 was killed on January 19th 1991 during firefighting operations at the Meyer Brothers Department store multiple alarm fire, that also involved other structures in downtown Paterson. He was 27 years old, had entered the clothing store with several others, but failed to return when they were driven out by the heat and smoke.
Engine 4 is the apparatus on which John Nicosia responded. This photo hangs at PFD Headquarters
The following memorial tree and plaque are at Northside Firehouse on Temple Street
Firefighter Nicosia's name is inscribed on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Plaque in Emmitsburg, MD
Fireman Walter Bitner
Fireman Walter Bitner of Engine Company 5, on July 11, 1991 after falling from the apparatus as it was leaving Lafayette Street quarters (Riverside Firehouse) and turning left onto East 16th Street while responding to an alarm at 12:21 PM to Station 124 for a fire at 310 Hamilton Avenue. He suffered a brain injury and died 9 years later.
November 10, 1998: Resolution from the City of Paterson
Firefighter Bitner's name is inscribed on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Plaque in Emmitsburg, MD
Auxiliary Fireman William Conklin of Engine Company 4 was thrown from the apparatus during an auto accident at Grand and Mill Streets on April 19, 1942. He received a full departmental funeral. Killed in the same accident was fireman August Schneider (see above).
Names are not inscribed on the Memorial Monument
Firemen in United States Military
John Millington, born in 1892, who was appointed to Engine Company 10 on February 17, 1918, lost his life (died of disease) in defense of the United States in France during WWI. His name is on a plaque/statue in Peoples Park Section (between Market Street, East 22nd Street, & 19th Avenue) of Paterson and his picture below was in the 1921 ball book.
The stattue displays a uniformed World War I soldier standing with his arms folded at his chest, wearing a campaign hat, jacket, leggings, ammunition belt, and a bayonet. The soldier holds the remains of a rifle in his proper left hand. On the soldier's back is blanket roll with a gas mask case and canteen below it. An artillery mortar piece is behind the soldier's proper left leg. The soldier is mounted upon a multitiered, square base with plaques on all four sides, including Honor Rolls on the sides and back. The plaque on the front of the statute (shown below) lists those who lost their lives. On the other three sides of the statue are listed over 400 Patersonians who served during WWI
Bernard Kennedy was appointed to the Paterson Fire Department May 19, 1942. He was killed in action in Holland October 29, 1944.