ORIGIN OF THE MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP FIRE COMPANY
The Millstone Township Fire Company was established in June 1938 by local residents. These residents recognized the need to establish a fire company in the township for the protection of life and property from fire. Prior to the fire company’s formation, Millstone was dependent on fire protection from surrounding communities, such as Freehold and Hightstown. Now, 72 years later, the Millstone Township Fire Company’s volunteer firefighters continue to provide fire protection and other emergency services to Millstone Township, a 37 square mile municipality in Western Monmouth County as well as mutual aid to our surrounding communities.
In its early years, the fire company’s volunteers were alerted by a siren only; later a phone bell was added, followed by plectron radios in the homes of the volunteer members. Today, the fire company members are alerted by state- of- the art radio pagers and are dispatched to emergency calls by the Monmouth County Sheriff Department’s Communications Center
GROWTH OF THE MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP FIRE COMPANY
The fire company’s original firehouse was located behind the Clarksburg Inn on County Route 524 and housed a REO pumper fire truck. In 1941, a Diamond T pumper was purchased and as the company grew, other pieces of fire apparatus were added, including water tankers and brush trucks. In fact several trucks were built by the volunteer members themselves. Most notably Joseph Buckalew, who was known to many of the fire company members as “Uncle Joe”, a 50 year veteran of the fire company, took the lead in the truck fabrication. Because of Uncle Joe, and the efforts of other members like him, the “Home Built” legacy of the Millstone Township Fire Department took hold and that legacy is now enshrined in the fire company’s official logo on its uniforms and trucks.
It should also be noted that early in the company’s history, an ambulance was purchased, which the members operated to answer first aid calls in the township until establishment of the independent Millstone Township Volunteer First Aid Squad in 1954. The squad then assumed responsibility to respond to EMS calls in the township.
As the fire company grew, in 1941 it moved next door to a newly constructed firehouse on County Route 524 which served as the company’s second location, containing 2 garage bays and a second floor meeting room. This site served as the company’s firehouse until 1976. ( Today this facility is still in use, having been converted into Millstone’s Community Center.)
In 1977, after countless hours of work by the fire company members and supporters, the construction of the current firehouse was completed at a cost of approximately $ 100,000 and the fire company moved a third time to house its expanding operations and equipment, which now included a 5,000 gallon tractor – trailer water tanker. A formal building dedication was held by the fire company on August 27, 1977 and included a ribbon cutting ceremony by Mayor John Van Wyck, Fire Chief Claude Dey, Fire Company President James Carbin and Fire Police Captain Peter Fenton. Afterward, the fire company paraded through town, joined by over 20 neighboring fire companies, and then enjoyed along with their families, guests and local residents, refreshments and music to celebrate this new, modern firehouse to better serve the community.
However, after a few years passed, the fire company membership decided it was time to add a hall to the firehouse and construction commenced. Again, after a lot of work by members, the hall was finally completed and in 1986 was formally dedicated as “Carbin Hall” in recognition of the contributions and dedication to the fire company by the Carbin family . Over the years, 9 members of the Carbin family served in the fire company, with 7 being elected as the fire company’s chief. In fact, at one point in time, Louis H. Carbin took a second mortgage out on his home to assist the fire company with its need for funding. Today members of the Carbin family continue to serve the company, with James J. Carbin 3rd currently serving as Chief in 2010.
TODAY’S MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP FIRE COMPANY
Since 1938, through the beginning of 2010, Millstone Township has continued to grow from primarily a rural, agricultural community to a mixed rural/suburban community with new housing/commercial development located among horse farms, nurseries, and woodlands. Despite its continued growth, unlike many other towns, Millstone has maintained its rural roots and as a result, all homes and commercial properties are served by individual wells and septic systems. Therefore, the fire company continues to train and rely on water tanker trucks, as well as drafting from local ponds and lakes to establish an adequate water supply to extinguish fires. The fire company’s expertise in the use of tankers and water supply is also actively shared with neighboring fire companies through its active participation in the Monmouth County and Suburban Chiefs Tanker and Pipeline Task Forces. Former Millstone Fire Chief Ed Reed, who served the fire company as Chief Officer for 18 years, is also a Tanker Coordinator and Instructor for the Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office.
As demands for fire protection by the Millstone Township Fire Company increased, so did the fire company’s need for funding, which surpassed what the fire company fund-raising could garner to cover costs. Therefore, in 1979, the fire company, with the support of many township residents, petitioned the municipal government to establish Millstone Fire District # 1, to raise and oversee the expenditure of monies to insure adequate funding for fire protection. In 1999, the Fire District, in response to the growing number of fire calls, and declining number of volunteer firefighters available during week days, decided in conjunction with the fire company, to appoint its first paid firefighters to supplement the fire company ‘s volunteers, the majority of whom worked out of town.
The first paid firefighters were James J. Carbin, 3rd and Christopher Weltner, who were experienced volunteers of the fire company and met the necessary qualifications to start a career as firefighters with the Fire District.
Currently, the Millstone Township Fire Company is considered a combination fire department, consisting of both paid and volunteer firefighters which operate 11 modern pieces of fire apparatus, including a Special Services/Rescue Truck, equipped with various hydraulic rescue equipment and light tower. This unit responds to all structure fires and motor vehicle accidents.
In 2009, the 28 volunteer firefighters of the fire company and 8 paid firefighters employed by the Fire District responded to 454 emergency calls, working as a team to provide fire protection and other emergency services to the township residents. In addition, the Fire District established a Bureau of Fire Prevention, which conducts inspections of local businesses and sponsors fire prevention programs tailored to our local schools, farms and businesses.
The Millstone Township Fire Company organization also includes a very active Ladies Auxiliary, which supports the fire company with fundraising and provides refreshments at major fires and training events. An Explorer’s Post, affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, is also associated with the fire company and includes young men and women, ages 14 to 17. They serve the community as junior firefighters and assist the fire company while at the same time training in fire studies in order to qualify for membership in the fire company upon reaching the age of 18.
TOMMORROW’S MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP FIRE COMPANY
The Millstone Township Fire Company is looking forward to continuing its tradition of community service into the 21st Century and will celebrate our 75th Anniversary in 2013. We are always looking for new members who are interested in volunteering to join our fire company, ladies auxiliary and Explorer’s Post. We also continue to seek opportunities to upgrade our training and equipment. Most recently, we added to our department a 2008 Pierce Pumper which replaced a 1976 Mack Pumper which is now in service with the Grand Isle Fire Department in Louisiana.
We encourage you to visit our Web-Site, or stop by the firehouse, to learn more about the Fire Company, the Fire District, our members and our accomplishments and consider joining our team!