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.