Austin
E.
Marks


AUSTIN E. MARKS was born on September 28, 1907 to Walter and Dolly Marks in Pennsylvania. By the end of 1911 the family had moved to Camden.

When the 1914 Camden City Directory was compiled, the Marks family resided at 1133 Knight Street, a short street that ran from Boyer's Court, just north of Kaighn Avenue south to Mechanic Street, west of South 2nd Street. His mother, Dolly, was a widow by January of 1920. The Marks family, which included younger brothers Walter and Lester, then lived at 520 Gordon Terrace, across Broadway from the New York Shipbuilding Company Shipyards. Dolly Marks operated a boarding house there for shipyard workers. The family had moved to 1032 Segal Street by 1924. 

By 1930 the Marks family had moved to 324 Birch Street in North Camden. Austin Marks 

was working as a laborer at the RCA-Victor factory. Brothers Walter and Lester also had gone into the workforce in factory jobs.

Austin E. Marks enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 13, 1932. After completing his basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina, Private Marks was sent with 9 other men to the Sea School Detachment at the Marine Barracks, Norfolk Naval Base, Portsmouth, Virginia, where he trained for ship duty. He received a furlough on December 24, 1932 from which he returned on December 31. Upon his return he completed his sea training and was assigned to the Marine detachment aboard the USS Portland, a cruiser stationed at the Boston Navy Yard in February of 1933. The following month he was reassigned to the USS Pensacola, based at San Pedro, California. The USS Pensacola was in New York harbor in April of 1933. On April 1 of that month Austin Marks was promoted to Private First Class and returned to the Marine detachment aboard the USS Portland.

The Portland sailed to the Panama Canal Zone in May of 1933, and on to Bremerton, Washington in June. July and August 1933 found Private First Class Marks back aboard the USS Pensacola in San Pedro. He was returned to the USS Portland in Bremerton in September. The Portland was in San Francisco in October, and at Long Beach, California in November. Private First Class Marks served the next four months aboard USS Pensacola before being returned to the USS Portland once again, the Portland returning to the East Coast via the Canal Zone in April and May of 1934. June of 1934 found him back aboard the USS Pensacola for a run to Charleston, South Carolina. He returned again to the USS Portland which was at Provincetown, Massachusetts in July and at Portsmouth, Virginia in August. September of 1934 found the USS Portland at Guantonamo Bay, Cuba, then back to New York, for another brief assignment to the USS Pensacola before returning to the Pacific aboard the USS Portland in November. December saw another stint with the Pensacola in New York, before returning to the USS Portland. On January 15, 1935 Austin Marks was promoted to Corporal in the United States Marine Corps.

Corporal Marks served aboard the USS Portland through August of 1935, including an extended time at sea between April and July of 1935. The Portland was at Long Beach in August 1935 and in San Diego the following month. In October Corporal Marks was again returned to the USS Pensacola, and he received a furlough at the end of the month. He returned to the USS Pensacola on the 8th of November, 1935 and remained with the Pensacola through January of 1936. February 1936 saw Corporal Marks back with the USS Portland. He was transferred to a new assignment, the League Island Navy Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 2, 1936. After finishing up his affairs on the West Coast, Corporal Marks took a three week furlough beginning March 9, and reported for duty in Philadelphia on the 31st. He served at League Island continuously through the summer of 1936, except for a four day temporary assignment to Lakehurst, New Jersey in connection with the landing of the German airship Hindenburg from May 16 to May 20. He took a nine-day furlough from August 11 to August 20, 1936.

On September 12th of 1936, at the end of his enlistment, Corporal Marks was honorably discharged at the League Island Navy Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His character was noted as "excellent" and he was awarded the Good Conduct Medal

Austin E. Marks joined the Camden Fire Department on November 25, 1938.

When the 1947 Camden City Directory was compiled, Austin Marks and his wife Marguerite were living at 370 North 34th Street in East Camden.

Austin E. Marks was promoted to Captain on April 8, 1948. He was subsequently promoted to District Chief on November 1, 1953.

After 27 years of distinguished service to the City of Camden, Austin E. Marks retired on August 1, 1965. He moved to Florida soon afterwards.

Last a resident of Nokomis, Florida, Chief Marks passed away on December 27, 1993. He was survived by his wife, who remained in Nokomis, and who joined him on February 22, 2005, sons Austin and George Marks, and daughter Marguerite "Peggy" Marks DeBoard.


Camden Courier-Post * December 2, 1957

Harry Wagner - Austin Marks - Delaware Avenue - Penn Street
J. Wilson & Co., J. Eavenson & Sons Division soap factory 

Christmas at the Marks home - Late 1950s

 From Left: Austin, Peggy, Bruce, George, & Wayne Marks.
Bruce & Wayne are nephews
Click on Image to Enlarge

Camden Courier-Post  - April 1963

Col. Arthur Bedell - George Baxter - John Gaffney - Austin Marks

George Baxter - Austin E. Marks - Edward R. MacDowell

Austin E. Marks

January 14, 1964
Camden Fire Department 1869-1994 125th Year Anniversary Book

On the bitter cold night of January 14th, 1964, as members were standing roll call throughout the firehouses of the City, Box 328 tapped in for Broadway and Chestnut Street at 6:02 P.M. Engine Company 1, Engine Company 8, Ladder Company 2 and Chief Theodore Primas of the 3rd Battalion responded. Arriving units found heavy smoke pushing from the first floor of Walmart Tailors, a three-story building with apartments above. Police had already led nine occupants to safety before the arrival of the fire fighters. Engine 8 stretched the first line while Ladder 2 was ordered to force the door. Moments later, the plate glass windows failed and the store front lit up in a ball of fire. Chief Primas transmitted a second alarm and ordered the deployment of master streams. The fire extended to all floors of the building and broke through the roof as bitter cold winds whipped the flames out into the street. Extreme icing upon ladders, apparatus and streets surfaces made for treacherous operations.

Deputy Chief Austin Marks who responded to the second alarm, special called an additional engine company and further ordered the recall of 35 off duty members , directly to the fire for relief purposes. As conditions deteriorated, a third alarm was transmitted to reinforce relief operations. Shortly after the third alarm, Captain Leonard Iannelli of Ladder Company 2 - the first due truck, collapsed on the sidewalk from a heart attack. Brother firemen rushed to his aid and Battalion Chief Primas personally attended to the unconscious officer. In the ambulance while enroute to the hospital, Chief Primas performed mouth to mouth resuscitation all the way. In spite of these efforts, Captain Iannelli was pronounced dead at the hospital. 

By this time, the fire had destroyed most of the building as the roof collapsed on to the top floor causing some wall sections to fall into Chestnut Street. Fire fighters concentrated their efforts on saving the adjoining Camden Roofing Supply Company. At one point a half-dozen master streams were directed into a narrow alley that separated the roofing supply from the fire building. Units were successful in protecting this exposure and firemen were also credited with saving the huge John's Bargain Store just a few doors down from the fire. Following a six hour battle, the blaze was controlled shortly before midnight although companies would remain at the scene for over 24 hours. On the following morning, the scene resembled an ice palace as firemen used axes and halligan bars to pry frozen hose embedded in thick street ice. 

Like his father, Leonard Iannelli died in the line of duty as a Camden fire fighter.  Tragically, Captain Iannelli's brother, Carmen Iannelli would also give his life while protecting the City of Camden, in 1975. 


Broadway & Chestnut Street
January 14, 1964
Engine Company 1 - Engine Company 8 - Ladder Company 2

Engine Company 8 with deckpipe from hose wagon, operates master stream into top floor of commercial building during Third Alarm at Walmart Clothing, Broadway & Chestnut Streets, South Camden on 1-14-1964.

Units press an all out attack as Chief Officers confer during Third Alarm at Broadway &  Chestnut Streets in South Camden on 1-14-1964.

Fighting two enemies at the same time amid fire and ice is a frequent scourge of fire fighters. Members are seen directing exterior streams at Walmart fire, Broadway &  Chestnut Streets on  1-14-1964 under punishing conditions.

At Broadway & Chestnut Streets in South Camden. Member seen at center of photo is Ladder Company 2 Captain Leonard Iannelli just moments before his death. At left is Deputy Chief Austin Marks during Third Alarm, 1-14-1964.


Camden Courier-Post - January 16, 1964

Blaze Destroys 3 Buildings; Fireman Dies, Two Are Injured
9 Left Without Homes

By Fredrick Smigelski and Charles Q. Finley

A fast moving fire fanned by a bitterly cold wind destroyed three buildings in South Camden last night, left one fireman dead, two others injured, and nine persons homeless.

As dense smoke, chunks of flaming debris and showers of sparks spewed high into the night, the roaring blaze wrecked Walmart Tailors, Inc. at 1101 Broadway and two floors above the store used as an apartment house, the Style Nook Dress Shop at 1103 Broadway, and Jean's Hosiery Shop at 1105 Broadway.

With only seconds to spare, Police Sergeant John Ferry and Patrolman Alfred Hayes entered the 1101 building and led the occupants, many of them elderly, to safety as flames mushroomed from the basement toward the roof.

Eleven pieces of equipment were still at the scene this morning.

Captain Dies

Fire Captain Leonard Iannelli, 41, of 3055 Stevens Street and attached to Truck Company 2, collapsed at the scene. He was dead on arrival at Cooper Hospital of an apparent heart attack.

Fire District Chief Frank Deal, 39, of 412 North 37th Street, was treated at Cooper Hospital for smoke inhalation. John Yates, 63, of 2400 South 8th Street with Engine Company 2, was treated at West Jersey Hospital for smoke inhalation and a back injury.

Among those made homeless by the fire were Claude W. Darnell and Mrs. Carey Morgan, both 80; William Schaffer, 77; and Charles Hill, 67 and his wife who is 62; Mrs. Frances Matthews, 53; Helen Saltzman and James Early.

Iannelli was standing on Broadway next to Lieutenant Colonel William A. Gwynne of the Volunteers of America, a chaplain, who was serving coffee and food. District Chief Theodore Primas gave mouth to mouth resuscitation on the way to the hospital. Coroner Schaffhauser was notified. He said Iannelli died either from a heart attack or smoke inhalation. The possibility of an autopsy was being discussed this morning.

Police Aid Elderly

Iannelli's brother, Carmen, is with Engine Company 9 and was on duty on the time but not at the fire. He went to the hospital when told of the tragedy.

Ferry and Hayes were first on the scene after the alarm was sounded at 6:03 by a nearby merchant. They entered through a back door and ran upstairs to the second floor where they kicked in doors, rounded up the confused occupants and got them out safely. They then went to the third floor and found Early and Darnell.

The fore spread rapidly and soon huge balls of flame were pouring from the windows as burning frames fell to the pavement. Chairs, a shower fixture, a mirror on a wall, could be seen briefly through the windows in the mass of flame inside, then they fell into the inferno.

The roof collapsed, then sections of the third floor wall on the Chestnut Street side began falling into the fire.

Firewall Credited

Smoke filled Schrack's Paint Store at 1107 Broadway and a firewall was credited with helping to save John's Bargain Store at 1109-1111 Broadway.

Firemen carried a hose to the roof of the Camden Roofing Supply Company on Chestnut Street to the rear of the fire. At one point a half dozen streams of water were being poured into the flames as they burned furiously on one side of a small alley which separated the roofing company from the fire.

Harold Walter, owner of Walmart Tailors, Inc. was trying to get his car out of a snow bank nearby when the fire started, He gave firemen keys to open the gate he had just closed across the front of his store.

Fire Chief Edward MacDowell said the blaze had apparently started in the basement of 1101 Broadway but no cause had been determined immediately.

Fireplugs Froze

Engine Companies 8 and 1 and Truck 2 responded to the first alarm with District Chief Theodore Primas. The second alarm was sounded at 6:10, bringing Engine Companies 3 and 7, and Truck Company 1, Rescue Squad 1, District Chief Deal and Deputy Fire Chief Austin Marks.

At 8:02 Engine Company 2  was summoned and at 8:45 35 off duty firemen were called to relieve firemen exhausted by the cold. The spray from hoselines covered streets and equipment with sheets of ice.

When firemen arrived they found fireplugs frozen and had to use heaters to get the water flowing.

Police held back large crowds which gathered despite the cold and wind. The fire burned out of control for six hours and was not declared under control until midnight. The area was closed to traffic during the fire.

Traffic this morning was detoured off Broadway between Mt. Vernon Street and Kaighn Avenue.

Wind Shifted

Primas said there was a west wind when the fire broke out but that it shifted to the north, during the flames into the buildings to the south.

Iannelli is survived by his wife Olga, two sons, Leonard Jr. and Dennis, and a daughter, Mary, at home; his mother, Mrs. Rose Iannelli, of Camden; and two brothers, Carmen and Frank of Camden.

Iannelli's late father, Frank, was a firemen 21 years and died of a heart attack after fighting a fire in April of 1942.

Iannelli joined the fire department in March, 1948 and was made captain four years later. He was a veteran of World War II.

Because of the large amount of stock involved, the extent of the damages were not immediately known. 

LEFT HOMELESS by fire which destroyed their home, victims of the blaze in the 1100 block of Broadway look on from a nearby house. Seated (left to right) are Mrs. Carey Morgan, 80, and her daughter, Mrs. Charles Hill, 62. Standing is Charles Hill, 67.

ROARING FLAMES obscure a section of 1101 Broadway as flames destroy the building in a fire that also burned out two adjoining structures. The water lines glaze the street with ice, making footing hazardous for firemen. Equipment had to be moved quickly when it was feared the wall might fall outward. The blaze raged nearly five hours.

HUGE ICICLES cover wreckage of three buildings destroyed in fire on Broadway at Chestnut Street.


Camden Fire Department
First Annual Retirement Dinner
May 3, 1966

 William T. Cahill - Alfred R. Pierce - Edward V. Michalak
Keith Kauffman - Rev. W.A. Gwynne -
Edward R. MacDowell
Howard W. Ways
- George L. Boone - Isaac Muns - John C. Voll  
John T. Clemmens
- Harrison B. Pike - Albert A. Weller
Austin E. Marks - Edward Y. Scott - John W. Yates

 

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