Fire District #1 – Richland Volunteer Fire Department

PO Box 356
876 Main Avenue
Richland, NJ 08350-0356
(856) 457-5158

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.  A photograph from that era later showed a converted Ford Model T equipped with chemical wagon apparatus.

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.  After a half-century of service the 1958 American LaFrance was replaced 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.

After 75 years, the original wooden fire house eventually started to suffer major structural issues, despite several attempts at remediation.  It was eventually determined that the most economic course of action would be its replacement.  After extensive research, a prefabricated metal building with masonry finish was selected as the most cost-effective solution, which was completed on February 16, 2011.  It features high efficiency and four spacious truck bays, adequate to serve apparatus needs for the next seventy-five years.  Financing for the new fire house was provided by the US Department of Agriculture – Rural Development.

The 1997 Chevrolet rescue/lighting truck was refurbished in 2014 using a new International TerraStar 4×4 chassis of greater capacity.  Thanks to a significant donation in 2016, the Fire Company was able to acquire a rescue boat, Marine 12-1, which is frequently used throughout Atlantic County for mutual aid assignments.  Finally, after 25 years of service, the 1991 GMC/S&S tanker was replaced with a 2017 Rosenbauer tanker-pumper, constructed on a Freightliner crew cab chassis.  This vehicle carries 3000 gallons of water along with a 2000 GPM pump, and will be fully equipped as a pumper.  The Fire Company participates in the Atlantic County mutual aid Tanker Task Force, and this vehicle will serve throughout the county.

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, and chicken barbeques.  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 D. Monfredo
Assistant Chief:  Paul Micheletti
Captain:  AJ Levari
Lieutenant:  Ron Grattini

President:  Anthony H. Monfredo
Vice President:  Ron Grattini
Secretary:  Jerry Green
Treasurer:  Lynn Burshtin

Fire Commissioners of Buena Vista Township Fire District 1:
Stanley J. Tarquinio – Chairman
Michael L. Burshtin – Secretary
Linda M. Burshtin – Treasurer
Andrew (A.J.) Levari III
Mary Ann Micheletti-Levari

John Armato
Michael Axe
Tom Barba
David Bowen
Lynn Burshtin
Michael Burshtin
Bart Deluca
Ron Grattini
Jerry Green
Andy Kollmer
Jeff Lelyo
AJ Levari
David Linn
Horace Linn
Matt Maurone
Anthony Mazzio
Paul Micheletti
Anthony Monfredo, Sr.
Anthony Monfredo, Jr.
Zac Pew
Aaron Rullon
Gene Santiago
Stanley Tarquinio
Sean Walker

12-10 2000 Pierce Saber
12-11 2008 Pierce Contender
12-15 2014 International Rescue
12-19 2017 Rosenbauer Tanker-Pumper 3000 gal.
Marine 12-1 Rescue boat