Marlboro Fire Company got its start in 1904, as a bucked brigade, when ladders and buckets were stored in the old Post Office on Main Street.
In 1906, when a fireworks display set fire to the Baptist Church (now a doctors office) at the corner of Main Street and Vanderburg Road, it was decided that fire protection was not adequate and this led to a reorganization of the Fire Company.
Marlboro Fire Company was incorporated in 1098 and began operations with a hand-drawn American La France chemical truck. Originally, firemen were summoned to a fire by the church bell at the Baptist Church, and later, by striking an old iron wheel which hung near the firehouse. The men would run with their tools to the fire and quite often the families of the firemen would pull the chemical truck to the fire. A local farmer would often be paid to bring a team of horses to the fire to pull the truck back.
Records of the earliest days of the company were either destroyed or lost, but some of the first members were, A.M. Baird, James H. Baird, F.T. Burke, Martin Collins, William Dugan, J.D. Ely, Bert Emmons, Carl Fischer, A.J. Holland, Harry G. Magee, John Tiernan, Charles Wyckoff, and Floyd Wyckoff.
In 1915 the company bought an Oldsmobile roadster from bandmaster Arthur Pryor of Asbury Park. The equipment from the hand-drawn truck was placed on it and this gave the company its first motorized fire equipment.
That original motorized fire unit was replaced in 1927 with a G.M.C. chemical truck, which considerably increased the company’s mobility. This truck had a 2-ton speed wagon chassis and was equipment with four (4) 40-gallon tanks.
On October 5, 1933 the company dedicated a new firehouse and community hall next to the site where the Hobart house originally stood on Main Street, where it stands today.
Less than a decade later, on November 8, 1942, this firehouse was extensively damaged by a blaze, which started in electrical equipment in the Civil Defense control room in the building.
The fire truck was saved, but the building, including the Post Office, which was housed there, were completely burned out. The damage was repaired with in a short time and the building put back in service to the town.
In 1963, the firehouse was doubled in size and the second story, known as the “Walnut Room” was built. The members did all this work on evenings and weekends, The Walnut Room is used for Fire Company meetings and was rented out for weddings, dances, and other community projects. This helped the company pay for the building in the early years.
Some of the more memorable fires in the company’s history include the Hindenburg dirigible disaster at Lakehurst, in which we were one of the ten companies allowed in to fight the fire because we had a chemical truck. Our company also responded to the South Amboy explosion in 1950, the “Tar Plant” fire in Marlboro in 1951, and the Main Street fire in downtown Freehold. Local residents remember a fire at the Morgan Farm in 1961 in which firemen and residents had to herd a large group of cows to a pasture on the Joceda Farm property, which is now the Monmouth Heights development. This tied up traffic for some time. More recently in the 1980’s we were at the Freehold Racetrack fire for several days.
In April 1961, The Marlboro Fire Company purchased a 1928 American La France pumper from the Freehold Fire Company. This truck affectionately known as “Uncle Dan” is in memory of a Freehold Mechanic, Dan Briggs. This truck pumped for 12 hours at the Morgan Farm fire.
The Fire Company has grown from its original hand drawn truck to its present eight pieces of equipment including two 1500 g.p.m. pumpers, one Heavy Rescue truck, one Tanker, one Brush truck, two Chiefs vehicles, and our 1928 American La France 1000 g.p.m. pumper “Uncle Dan”.
The Fire Company recently finished a four bay addition to the firehouse which fronts on School Road West to better serve our needs, adding much needed vehicle and storage space and allowing for the addition of office space.
In this our 100th year we look back on the memories, gain from our experience, and hope to serve the people of Marlboro and the surrounding areas for at least another 100 years, with the help of God.
– written in 2004 for our 100th Anniversary Celebration