History of Woodbury Fire Department
- March 16, 1799, a meeting was held at Jos Hugg's Tavern with the purpose of establishing a fire company;
- April 13, 1799 articles of Woodbury Fire Company were signed by 30 members , and the Woodbury Fire Company was born;
- April 27, 1799 A subscription list for a new hand engine was signed. In the process the Woodbury Fire Company was founded.
- July 8, 1799 the engine was delivered, This engine is presently on display of the Friendship Fire Company Museum.
- December 25, 1828 The Woodbury Fire Company formed the Woodbury Fire Association, which was incorporated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature. This created a fire-taxing district run by the Board of Fire Wardens. The Association bought equipment and maintained the fire wells until February 1886 when that responsibility was taken over by City Council.
- June 5, 1830 Friendship Fire Company is founded with 31 members. The Woodbury Fire Company is disbanded. Woodbury Fire Association turns all equipment over to Friendship Fire Company for use. The Woodbury Fire Association still controls the wells
- February 16, 1886 the City Council passed the City Ordinance “Establishing, Controlling and Regulating the Fire Department in the City of Woodbury”. Fire Districts are established, A Chief Engineer and an Assistant Engineer, one living in each fire district is to be elected for a three-year term. City Council now had the rights to tax for fire protection of the city. All property and equipment of the Woodbury Fire Association was turned over to the City once a special meeting for said purpose was held by the Fire Association. The taxing authority and maintenance responsibilities then passed from the Fire Association to the City. The Woodbury Fire Association was dissolved. With the creation of the Woodbury Fire Department, all direct fire department operations were now removed from the Friendship Fire Company. The companies were still responsible for electing the officers of the Woodbury Fire Department and providing any social functions for their respective membership.
- September 1886 The first Chief Engineer of the Woodbury Fire Department, Benjamin W. Cloud, was elected.
- January 13, 1887 Good Will Fire Company was organized and they were incorporated on April 27, 1887. A hand drawn hose crab is their first piece of equipment. Soon afterwards the number one was added to Friendship name to become “Friendship Fire Company No. 1”.
- March 20, 1888 1st Report from the Chief of Fire Department - Among the fire responses and property lost, insurance paid out is the equipment consisting of; 3 hose carriages, small hand engine, 1500 ft. rubber-lined cotton hose, 4 fire axes, 3 crowbars, 2 siamese couplings, the necessary play pipes, nozzles, wrenches, spanners, etc.; 1 hook and ladder truck, carrying 4 ladders ranging from 13 ft. to 33 ft. in length, 2 fire hooks and extra rope. The chief requested the purchase of a 50-ft. ladder to reach “our highest building recently erected” and the formation of a distinct hook and ladder company in the third district.
- September 5, 1898 Ground was broken for the new firehouse at 29 Delaware Street. Sometime later the corner stone was laid.
- May 26, 1899 The first recorded Gamewell telegraph fire alarm box (in the company minutes) was reported at the company meeting as being pulled on this date. Box 27 was pulled at 5:10 p.m. There are a total of 17 boxes in the city at this time.
- December 19, 1910 4:55 am box 34 is received. William Milligan High School burns costing $77,000 and was insured for only $60,000. A steam fire engine is shipped by rail car from Camden, NJ to help fight the fire. It took 9 hours in sub-freezing and high wind conditions to contain the blaze. The next night a town meeting is held. The City orders and later receives the 1911 Ahrens-Fox horse drawn steamer in April 1911.
- 1915 Sometime between 1908 to 1915 Woodbury hires two fulltime career firemen.
- 1916 The City receives two Ahrens-Fox motorized fire engines. One goes to Friendship, the other to Goodwill.
- September 28, 1918 Good Will member Daniel H. Davis died as the result of responding to Box 22 on September 27, 1918. The alarm was at 19 Newton Ave.
- February 2, 1922 Good Will occupies their present firehouse on North Broad Street.
- 1927 J. Forrest Sweeten starts works full time out of Good Will firehouse as the chauffeur. He was part time fire fighter, part time city streets department worker until this time.
- January 7, 1941 Two Mack 750-gpm pumpers were placed in service. One is housed at Friendship and the other at Good Will.
- June 14, 1949 City Ordinance created the Battalion system in the fire department. The department has a Chief, Deputy Chief, and two Battalion Chiefs.
- March 9, 1970 Belber Trunk burns to the ground. It was the largest building fire in Gloucester County to date
- 1988 City Ordinance removes the battalion system. The Fire Department now has a Chief, Deputy Chief, and an Assistant Chief starting in 1989
- 1992 All 107 Gamewell boxes are removed from the streets during the first quarter of 1992.
- June 12, 2006 City Council amended the city fire ordinance resulting Friendship Fire Company being the sole fire company in the Woodbury Fire Department, Good Will is no longer recognized as part of the Woodbury Fire Department.
- March 21, 2022 First shift of 24hr, 7 days a week, 365 days a year begins, with 3 personnel staffing 1 engine. Fire Department now has 5 full time staff and approx. 50 part-time stipend employees.
1st Chiefs Report 1888
National Bank & Trust Co of Gloucester County Fire
138 Chestnut 4-17-1980
Broad St 11-2-1973
Belber Trunk 3-9-1970
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Pull Box Locations
The first hospital in Woodbury was Brewer Hospital. Brewer Hospital opened in 1912 with 16 beds at Broad and Hunter Streets. Underwood Hospital opened a few years later. By 1936, Underwood Hospital treated 36,412 outpatients with another 1,745 patients being admitted. 886 births were recorded and 228 accidents were treated. In 1940 medical care was improving. Woodbury had two small hospitals at the time, Underwood Hospital and Memorial Hospital, which later merged to become Underwood-Memorial Hospital in the late 1960's. In November 2012 Underwood Memorial merged with South Jersey Health Care to become Inspira Health Network.
June 1941, Friendship Fire Company was able to raise $2,848.50 to place a 1940 Packard Ambulance in service providing free ambulance service to Woodbury. Here is the list of all the ambulances owned by Friendship, Good Will never owned or operated an ambulance out of their station.
On August 15, 1971 Friendship's final ambulance was placed into service. 1971 SWAB Ambulance was purchased. This ambulance was turned over to the newly formed Woodbury Ambulance Corps at the end of 1972. In mid-1980's the Woodbury Volunteer Ambulance Corps also folded under pressure from the increasing amount of runs and training requirements. Ambulance service also know as Basic Life Support was then provided by a contract service, which billed the patient's insurance company. On December 25th, 2008 Basic Life Support services were turned over to the newly formed Gloucester County Emergency Medical Services, a contract with the long standing private agency Woodbury TLC, were set to end December 31st, 2008.
Advanced Life Support Care was provided by the Underwood Memorial Hospital starting October 23,1977, until Inspira Health formed in November 2012 by the merger of South Jersey Healthcare and Underwood-Memorial Hospital. The Inspira Health Network provides a full time staffed advanced life support care in Gloucester and Salem Counties.