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The South Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department was incorporated on May 17, 1907. Originally, the name of the organization was the Middlesex Volunteer Fire Company, and the first equipment consisted of a two-wheeled cart, six pails, and some axes. The first firehouse in town was built for $2,000.
The 1930s saw the beginning of the evolution of the fire department. In 1936, the junior fire department program was established, allowing teenagers the opportunity to experience the fire service. Two years later, in 1938, the fire department purchased its first major apparatus, a combination hose and ladder truck equipped with floodlights, 200-gallon booster tank, portable generator, and 225 feet of ladders at a cost of $11,000.
As South Plainfield grew, so did the fire department. In 1949, a second firehouse was constructed at the corner of Hamilton Boulevard and Evona Place, in front of present-day Roosevelt Elementary School. Dubbed the South Side Firehouse, this new building allowed firefighters to respond to calls on the south side of town. This was necessary due to the trains running on the heavily-used Lehigh Valley line railroad tracks that crosses through town (the Lakeview Avenue bridge that currently crosses over the tracks did not exist at this time). Due to issues with the roof, the South Side Firehouse was demolished in 1995. In 1958, the town council approved the hiring of two full-time fire inspectors, Peter Ackerman and David Darge, with a yearly salary of $640.
In 1963, the fire department began answering calls via an in-house phone alert system. This took place for several years before the dispatch center was created at the municipal building. There, emergency dispatchers answer 9-1-1 calls and dispatch and communicate with the South Plainfield Police Department, Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, Office of Emergency Management, and Bureau of Fire Prevention. In the same year, the Joseph E. Delaney Scholarship Fund was established, and has been awarded each year to a graduating Senior at South Plainfield High School. The namesake scholarship is in memoriam of one of our beloved past Chiefs.
Today, the Borough of South Plainfield has a population of approximately 24,000 people in an area of 8.3 square miles. A mix of residential, commercial, and industrial call South Plainfield home. The fire department's current apparatus fleet consists of three engines, one aerial ladder truck, one rescue truck, one water/ice rescue vehicle, one brush truck, one boat, and three SUV's used by the Chief and two Deputy Chiefs as command vehicles. The current firehouse, built in 1967 and located at 123 Maple Avenue, is owned by the South Plainfield Exempt Association and is rented to the Borough of South Plainfield to house the fire department apparatus. The men and women of the fire department is committed to protecting and serving the residents, workers, and visitors of South Plainfield 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, the South Plainfield Volunteer Fire Department provides mutual aid service to a number of surrounding towns such as Plainfield, Piscataway, Edison, North Plainfield, Metuchen, and any other communities that are in need of our services and resources.
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