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Fire Department Celebrates 100 Years of Pride, Dedication and Tradition

Fair Lawn's Historic Preservation Commission sponsored a free program on the 100th anniversary of the Fair Lawn Fire Department.

Despite competition from the first presidential debate and the Yankees' division-clinching final regular season game, nearly 100 people turned out Wednesday night to hear ex-Fire Chief John Cosgrove's presentation on the 100th anniversary of the Fair Lawn Fire Department at the Fair Lawn Community Center.

Cosgrove's PowerPoint presentation, which was supplemented with old photos and a video [see attached], detailed the history and tradition of the department from its founding in November 1911 up to the present day. 

During his presentation, the deputy mayor touched on the first days of the department, its acquisition of early apparatus, its long line of chiefs and some of the largest and most memorable fires it has fought, all with an emphasis on the pride, dedication and tradition of the department.

"I have to tell you point blank," Cosgrove said. "One of the greatest things that’s ever happened to me in my life is my association with the Fair Lawn Fire Department."

Most of the early historical information Cosgrove presented about the department came from a 1938 book on the fire department that was commissioned during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration. The book, "Fair Lawn's Fire Fighters," is available at both the Cadmus House and the Fair Lawn library, Cosgrove said.

At present, the 125-member, four company department is the largest in Bergen County and responds to nearly 800 calls each year, Cosgrove said.

"Two-and-a-half to three times a day a lot of these people see each other, and they work with each other and they become a family, and they never leave," Cosgrove said in closing. "You can retire, but you’re always a part of that family. I just want the people of Fair Lawn to know that 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, these men and women are on call and ready to serve you. It’s a great tradition and I’m glad to be part of it.”

Cosgrove's presentation, which at one point was actually interrupted by a fire call that caused many of the fire fighters in attendance to rise from their seats and head out of the auditorium (it ended up being a false alarm), was preceded by introductions and proclamations from Fair Lawn Historic Preservation Commission chair Felice Koplik, Sen. Bob Gordon and County Executive Kathleen Donovan.

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Stuart Pace October 04, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Best Fire Department in the land.
Me October 04, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Are there any online historical images of the FLFD? I know the article says there's a book at the library but was there anything online to see.
Zak Koeske October 04, 2012 at 03:35 PM
@Me I don't see any on the FLFD website. The video has photos beginning in the 60s and there were some older photos shown at the presentation last night but I don't have them nor do they seem to be online. I'll see if I can track any down for you.
Me October 04, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Nah, it's ok. I'm probably going to try and get the book from the library. I was just curious. Thanks though!
Wayne Robbins October 04, 2012 at 04:09 PM
A HUGE Tip of my Hat to all those that are part of FLFD...you all do so much for the community...God Bless you ALL....JC, you're truly are amazing!
Go Figure October 04, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Makes me so proud to be a part of Fair Lawn! This is a big part of what makes Fair Lawn a great place to live, work and play.
(0) October 04, 2012 at 07:00 PM
*you truly are amazing *you're truly amazing *you are truly amazing @stuart pace- "best fire department in the land"? that is a bold statement. have you done research on all the other fire departments in the US? i believe they are one of the best in the county but i dont think any of us have the knowledge or resources to prove your statement is fauctually correct.
* October 04, 2012 at 08:49 PM
@(0)..did you major in stupidity, or is it just a family trait? Mr Pace was clearly expressing pride in his hometown FD...to HIM. (& many othets)it IS the best in the land
(0) October 05, 2012 at 01:18 PM
i majored in ditch digging and minored in stupidity
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