When firefighters responded to the Ford dealership on River Street in Hackensack 28 years ago, they did not know how deceptive the blaze would prove to be, nor how ill-equipped they were to fight it. They did not know that five of them would not survive.
That fateful day, July 1, 1988, the firemen rushed inside to knock down a fire they thought to be like any other they’d faced.
After 35 minutes, the dealership’s 60-ton bow-truss roof collapsed, killing three firefighters. Two others were trapped inside, radioing for help, but they could not be rescued before their air ran out.
It was one of the deadliest fires in Bergen County history, and it marked a turning point not only for Hackensack, but for fire service across the U.S. The Ford fire spurred reforms in safety, training and equipment, and highlighted the dangers of truss roofs in a fire. The lessons of Hackensack are now studied in firefighter classrooms from coast to coast and have been written into textbooks. Those lessons, experts say, certainly have saved lives.
Saturday was a very busy day for not only the volunteers of our department, but also for departments from our mutual aid. The USRFD hosted the North West Bergen Mutual Aid Association’s annual field day. Congratulations to Franklin Lakes Volunteer Fire Department for taking home first place for the best time in all events. After cleaning up and as the volunteers were just getting home from their all day event, the USRFD was called for service within the borough. First was for a broken water pipe which Chiefs 1230, 1240 and Engine 1232 handled, then later in the evening Chief 1240 and Rescue 1242 handled a fire alarm caused by an unattended culinary disaster. Great job to all the teams who participated in today’s events! See you all next year in Waldwick! And a huge thank you to (CPT Fire Ground Photos) http://CPTFireGroundPhotos.Smugmug.com for being there to take these amazing pictures.
Richard Sheltra (Souce: Pineville Volunteer Fire Department)
PINEVILLE, NC (WBTV) -
A 20-year-old firefighter was killed while battling a fire in the Pineville area Saturday night.
He has been identified as Richard Sheltra. He served as a volunteer firefighter for three years.
Pineville and Charlotte fire crews responded to the three-alarm fire on Pineville-Matthews Road at 9:03 p.m. to the Countryside Plaza.
“We saw him get pulled out. They tried the CPR, and we thought he had made it,” said Ctephanie Savoie, who was working in one of the buildings a few doors down at the time of the fire.
While responding to the fire, Sheltra was found in distress by other firefighters and was removed from the building. He was taken to Carolinas Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
“This is a very sad day for our department, in particular the Pineville community, as we mourn the passing of a friend a brother and very dedicated volunteer,” Pineville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Michael Gerin said. Sheltra is survived by his mother, father and sister.
In the last year, Sheltra received awards for Rookie of the Year and Most Training Hours from the department.
A Charlotte firefighter was also hurt in the blaze. No civilians were injured in the fire.
The Charlotte Fire Department sent its Mobile Command Post to the scene of the fire to assist the Pineville Fire Department with their investigation.
Yesterday, the USRFD was requested to back to back emergencies. First, at the Extended Stay on Route 17 for a reported brush fire. Chief Vierheilig and Engine 1232 (OIC FF Andrews) responded. Crews extinguished the fire with a booster line. While clearing the brush fire, dispatch called the USRFD for service again for a possible run away boiler at a home on Fox Hill. Chief Vierheilig, Engine 1231 (OIC FF Redmond) and Engine 1232 (OIC FF Andrews) responded. Crews checked and shut system down. PSEG was contacted and told to respond. Once clear, all units returned to HQ.
April 16th, the Upper Saddle River Fire Department held it’s 71st annual awards dinner. A huge thank you to LT. Brandon Bach for planning this event, and making it a huge success. Congratulations to all the award recipients, and thank you to all who attended. It was a good time had by all! The award recipients were as follows, Presidents Award: Ryan and Chris Younes, Chiefs Award: Greg Pink. Also, Ex-Chief John Schianchi was presented his Ex-Chief Badge. Congratulations to all!