Fire District #1 – Richland Volunteer Fire Department
PO Box 356
876 Main Avenue
Richland, NJ 08350-0356
The History of Richland Volunteer Fire Company, No. 1
In 1923 a group of civic minded Richland citizens, disturbed with the threat that fire had imposed on their community, organized the Richland Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 after a number of serious fires had damaged or totally destroyed several dwellings in the town. The Fire Company was formally incorporated on December 8, 1924.
The charter members were Charles Allen Sr., Charles Allen, Jr., Henry Amici, Albert Barsuglia, Joseph Carione, Peter Dalponte, Roy Downs, William Frank, Martin S. Grace, Paul Huber, George Langer, Sr., Frank MacNeil, Dave Maener, Frank Merighi, Joseph Merighi, Frank Pendola, Joseph Petrini, Sr., Eli Raimbault, Joseph Romanini, Tancred Romanini, John Shear, J. P. Spencer, and Matthew Travaglia.
The members constructed a fire house in 1925 on a plot of land donated by Joseph Romanini located at the northeast corner of Main Avenue and Smith Street in Richland. A two-wheel chemical wagon with iron wheels served as the first fire fighting equipment. The fire apparatus was towed alternately by trucks belonging to Henry Amici and Tancred Romanini, and was initially stored in a garage behind the old Richland Hotel at Harding Highway and Main Avenue.
In 1958 the fire house was rebuilt with a meeting room and three-bay masonry addition, followed by an additional masonry truck bay in 1968. The Fire Hall was modernized and air conditioned in 1970 and was used for many years by the Atlantic County Senior Nutrition Project.
Fire fighting equipment has continued to be added over the decades, with an International pumper being acquired in 1947. With the community expanding in the 1950’s the members realized that a major advancement was needed in its fire apparatus, resulting in the purchase in 1958 of a top-of-the-line American LaFrance 900 series 750 GPM pumper demonstrator unit, at the discounted price of $18,000 – still a big cost for its time. Using member’s ingenuity, parts were fabricated and used equipment was rebuilt to obtain a 1962 GMC 1200 gallon tanker and a 1966 GMC ex-Atlantic City Electric ladder truck. Jaws of Life rescue equipment was initially acquired in the early 1970’s, and the 1947 International was replaced by a 1978 Mack/Howe 1000 GPM pumper.
In the 1990’s upgraded equipment was obtained to respond to expanding community needs and to provide enhanced mutual aid to adjacent fire companies. The 1962 tanker was replaced with a GMC/S&S tanker with 500 GPM pump in 1991, and the members again became involved in the construction of a 1997 Chevrolet rescue/lighting truck with a cascade system to refill firefighter air packs at a fire scene. As the 21st century arrived, the 1978 Mack was superseded by a 2000 Pierce Saber 1500 GPM custom pumper, equipped to handle large diameter hose at major incidents. Finally, after a half-century of service the 1958 American LaFrance has been placed in reserved status with the arrival of a 2008 Pierce Contender 1500 GPM custom rescue-pumper. The cost of this new vehicle was funded by a significant grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) acquired by much diligent efforts by the Fire Company.
In addition to fire fighting and required training, the Richland members supported by their spouses contributed long hours of volunteer labor in building construction, equipment maintenance and many types of fundraising. Among these efforts were major annual carnivals with fireworks in the 1950’s and 1960’s, pancake breakfasts and macaroni dinners. The Fire Company has also long supported Buena Vista Township special events, and has a close working relationship with the Buena Vista Township EMS and the NJ Forest Fire Service.
Chief: Anthony Monfredo, Jr.
President Tony Monfredo
Vice President: AJ Levari
Deputy Chief: David Bell
Captain: Paul Micheletti
Lieutenant: John Belfi
Secretary: Ron Grattini
Treasurer: Lynn Burshtin
12-10 2000 Pierce Saber
12-11 2008 Pierce Contender
12-15 1997 GMC Rescue
12-19 1993 GMC Tanker 1800 gal.