The fire department is getting ready for its 100th birthday, and its starting to plan a celebration early.
Mahwah’s Fire Company 1 was founded in 1914, and volunteer firefighters are already preparing for yearlong anniversary celebrations in 2014. “We are in the very early stages of planning events,” Company 1 firefighter and chair of the 100th anniversary committee Tom Murphy said. “But, at this point, we are really looking for a lot of input from the community on what we could do to make the anniversary celebration a success. We are also looking for volunteers and sponsors.”
When the fire department was first started 98 years ago, the population of Mahwah was about 1,900 people, and the FD operated out of the first chief, Millard Cooper’s, garage on Hillside Ave. Fifty years ago, Mahwah hosted a multi-town anniversary parade and celebration that drew about 5,000 people.
Today, Company 1 is one of five in the township. It has 40 active volunteer members, and specializes in heavy rescues.
To celebrate everything that happened in between 1914 and now, the FD has started to think of possible events to take place in the township throughout its anniversary year. According to Murphy, events being considered include a parade, FD party at Mahwah Day, historical events coordinated with the museum or library, an antique fire truck show, firefighter games against squads from neighboring towns, and a wet down.
“Whenever we get a new truck, we have a wet down party, which is really like a way to Christen it,” Murphy explained. “So, we’ll have things like a big cook out, live music, bouncy houses, family events, and we douse the new truck in water to welcome it to our fleet. We usually get about 1,000-2,000 people at wet downs, so an event like that is definitely something we are considering.”
No matter what events are chosen, and Murphy said it will likely be several different events spread throughout 2014, the FD said the anniversary will be a community-wide celebration. “Since Company 1 was the first one formed in the township, it is really the entire department’s birthday,” Murphy explained. “So, this is not just a Company 1 thing. We want all five of the firehouses in Mahwah to be a part of this, and everyone in town to celebrate with us."
Before anyone can start celebrating, Murphy said the FD needs ideas and volunteer committee members to make the anniversary a success. It also needs business and corporate sponsors to fund the large events. “We are extremely fortunate,” Murphy said. “We have always had so much support from residents and local businesses, and corporations in town have always been extremely generous.”
Anyone with ideas for celebrations they’d like to see in town, or who is interested in volunteering to help set up the events, should email email@example.com.