Nicholas
Romaine


NICHOLAS ROMAINE was born Nicodemo Ronagnano on December 1, 1883 in Postiglione, Salerno, Italy. to Angelo Romagnano, a landholder (gentleman farmer), and Concetta Pacella, daughter of one Antonio Pacella, also a landholder. Angelo Romaine came to America in 1889, and sent for his family a few years later. Nicholas Romaine came to America at the age of 12, arriving at Ellis Island in New York Harbor on July 24, 1895 with his mother and brother Giuseppe. Their first destination in the USA was Philadelphia PA. The family later Americanized the name to Romaine.

By 1900 Nicholas Romaine was living in Camden. He took up the trade of barber, which followed into the 1920s. On February 4, 1902 he married Pauline Antonette Curea, daughter of Jule Ferdinand Curea & Elizabeth Lehman in Gloucester City. Also living in Camden

in these years were his cousin Luigi (Louis) Romaine, who owned a fireworks business in the city. He manufactured fireworks, first at a plant on Morgan Boulevard, and later down towards the waterfront.

Nicholas Romaine moved around South Camden quite a bit during the 1900s, 1920s, and early 1920s. He was working as a barber in these years, and also dabbled in real estate. His home addresses, according to family documents, Fire Department records, and the Camden City Directories, are as follows:

1897 - 1105 Baring Street
1898 - 807
Ferry Avenue
1899 - 1850 South 8th Street
1901 - 761
Ferry Avenue -
                 his father Angelo Romaine, owned this home until his death in 1921
1902 - 702 Sylvan Street 
1903 - 1743 Tioga Street  
1905 - 1200
Broadway, home at 1016 South 8th Street  
1906 - 1206
Broadway 
1907 -1909 - 1314
Broadway  
1910 - 218
Mount Vernon Street 
1911 - 419
Pine Street 
Dec 15, 1912 - 1410 Mt. Ephraim Avenue 
1913 - 1408 Mt. Ephraim Avenue
March 2, 1914 - 210 South 5th Street 
June 27, 1915 - 1496 Mt. Ephraim Avenue 
1919 - 1496 Mt. Ephraim Avenue 
Jan 8, 1920 - 1548 Mt. Ephraim Avenue
March 19, 1921 - 1548 Mt. Ephraim Avenue
Late 1923-July 1925 - 1271 Chase Street

Nicholas Romaine owned the 1548 Mt. Ephraim Avenue property, which is the corner of Mt. Ephraim Avenue and Morton Street. City Directories indicate that he may also have attempted to operate his own barbershop at 1200 Broadway, in 1905.

In 1921 Nicholas Romaine secured a position with the Fire Department of the City of Camden. He also moved with his family to East Camden. In April of 1930 and into 1931 the Romaine family lived at 3218 Saunders Street, next door to veteran Camden fire fighter Daniel J. Grimes. The family had moved to 2420 Mickle Street by May of 1933.

Nicholas Romaine was seriously injured while fighting a fire at the Bantivoglio & Sons junk yard in the 200 block of Division Street in July of 1925. He had been a member of Engine Company 7 on Kaighn Avenue above Mount Ephraim Avenue at the time. After being released from the hospital, he was transferred to Engine Company 11 in Cramer Hill, a less active district. Never having fully recovered from the 1925 injuries, Nicholas Romaine was in and out of hospital over the next several years. He died on May 11, 1933 at West Jersey Homeopathic Hospital in Camden, of complications from those injuries. His death was reported in the Camden Evening Courier on May 11, 1933. Nicholas Romaine was buried in New Camden Cemetery on May 16, 1933. He was survived by his wife and four children, Gladys (Elizabeth Constance) Romaine,  Joseph Nicholas Romaine, Bruce Van Dorin "Nicholas" Romaine, and Frank Jule Romaine. His wife and children moved to California not long after his death.


Nicholas Romaine
mid-1920s


Nicholas & Pauline Romaine
at Coney Island
1932


Nicholas Romaine


Camden Evening Courier * July 27, 1925

FOUR FIREMEN ARE TRAPPED IN COLLAPSE OF BRICK WALL
FLAMES SWEEP WAREHOUSE IN SOUTH CAMDEN
Fire Fighters are Rescued From Beneath Heaps of Hot Bricks
BURNING TIRES SEND UP CLOUDS OF DENSE SMOKE
Bantivoglio Junk Yard Destroyed- Loss Runs Into Thousands

Four firemen were buried under a falling brick wall, two of them believed to have been seriously hurt, and thousands of dollars worth of property was destroyed in a spectacular fire at the two story brick warehouse of Bantivoglio & Son, junk dealers, 252 Division Street, at 9:00 o'clock this morning.

The injured firemen attached to Engine Company No. 7, all of whom were taken to West Jersey Homeopathic Hospital, were:

Captain Charles Watkin 45 years old, 927 North Front street. Four fractured ribs and a punctured lung. he may die.

Nicholas Romaine, 43 years old, hoseman, 1271 Chase Street, lacerations of scalp and possible fracture of right ankle.

Louis Quinton, 25 years old, hoseman. 626 Viola Street, probable fracture of right shoulder.

Lester Anderson, 24 years old, hoseman, 1917 Niagara Road; lacerations of scalp and forehead and fractured left wrist.

None of the four were able to walk when they were lifted from where they had been struck down by the falling bricks. They were carried to the police ambulance and hurried at once to the hospital.

Residents of the neighborhood sat that a flash and a roar, as of an explosion, was their first warning of a blaze. The burned building has a frontage of 75 feet on Division Street. In a yard behind it there was a shed piled high with baled paper and three piled of used automobile tires. These caught fire and sent up black smoke that was visible for miles.

Smoke Hampers Firemen

A huge crowd of spectators already had gathered to watch the fire in this thickly populated section when the firemen arrived. The flames were threatening surrounding buildings, and the smoke was so dense that the men had difficulty finding their way out in the vicinity of the burning structure.

Captain Watkin and the three other fire fighters started along a driveway beside the building with a length of hose which they intended to use on the blazing sheds in the rear. They were passing a window when there was a muffled roar and a blast of dense smoke blinded and confused them. By shouts to one another they heard that there number was still intact. The blast of black smoke had been caused by the collapse of a loft and the falling of several bales of paper.

100,000 Tires Burn

More than 100,000 used automobile tires were destroyed in the blaze. The flames jumped a hundred feet into the air at one stage. Commissioner Hitchner watched the firemen at work from the roof of a nearby garage.

When the blaze had been extinguished Mr. Hitchner left to visit the injured firemen in the hospital. He commended the four men on their bravery and wished them a speedy recovery. Quinton is driver for Battalion Chief Wade.

The flames threatened to spread to the large garage of Louis Vananeri, on Spruce Street, directly in the rear of the junk yard. Firemen mounted the roof of this building and drove the flames back.

Today's blaze was the fourth that had visited the warehouse this year. The fire today is believed to have been caused by spontaneous combustion.

Carter Directs Rescue

The quarter were stooping to take up their hose line again when there was a crack like the report of a pistol, followed by a terrific roar.

Fire Chief Carter, personally directing his men, was about 50 feet away, and saw the four men buried as the bricks thudded down from the crumbling wall.

"Come on boys, there are four men under here." the chief yelled, and soon a score of hands were tearing frantically at the heaps of hot brick.

Bus Delays Ambulance

The police ambulance in which the injured men were placed was delayed for five minutes on its way to the hospital by the refusal of a Public Service bus driver to give it the right of way. According to Policeman Howard Fisher, the busman was arrested. The police say he will be prosecuted to the full extent of the ordinance in such cases. The ambulance was forced to remain behind the bus for a block and a half, according to the reports.

The pillar of smoke sent up by the blazing warehouse, sheds and 50-foot high piles of auto tires, drew thousands of spectators from all directions. Three alarms were turned in to the fire department in rapid succession. The police were called upon at once to establish lines for keeping back the crowd.

Bales of paper stored in the main building, as well as in the shed behind, .absorbed tons of water poured into the place by the firemen's hose, and the added weight snapped off fire-weakened floor beams like burning matches. The falling timbers and masses of packed paper added to the danger and difficulty of the firemen's task.

Only by a long and stubborn fight were the foremen able to prevent a conflagration among surrounding buildings.

The big warehouse became a red hot furnace. The heat was so intense a half-hour after the fire was discovered that telephone ad electric light poles on the other side of Division Street were ignited. "Trouble crews" from the telephone and electric companies were rushed to the place to guard their wires against falling and injuring persons below.

Loss placed at $50,000

It was roughly estimated that the the damage to the junk sheds and warehouse would reach $50,000.

Mrs. Leona Brown, who had just moved today into the house at 264 Division Street, just east of the burned plant, was driven from her new home by the dense clouds of smoke from a blazing of automobile tires that towered above the west wall of her two-story dwelling.

She was unable to return for any of her belongings when the .flames began to eat their way through the west wall of her house.

The fire was the second within a month in the junk yard, which is closely surrounded by frame residences, a frame negro church and other buildings on all sides.

Romaine Seriously Hurt

Hoseman Romaine was reported by. surgeons at the West Jersey Homeopathic Hospital as the most seriously hurt of the firemen caught by the falling wall. He was curt above the head, badly bruised about the back, and one of his ankles is believed to have been fractured.

Captain Watkin suffered several fractured ribs.

Hoseman Anderson was cut and burned about the face and his right wrist.

Hoseman Quinton suffered burns, cuts and bruises, and it is believed that one of his shoulders was fractured.


WHEN MOUNTAIN OF 
AUTO TIRES BURNED



Camden
Evening Courier


July 27, 1925

Click on Image to Enlarge

Four firemen were buried under a falling wall when fire swept a two-story warehouse and junkyard at 250-252 Division Street at 9:30 this morning. The photograph shows firemen pouring tons of water on piles of baled paper and old automobile tires. The firemen worked three hours before the blaze was under control. The flames threatened surrounding properties.


Camden Evening Courier - May 11, 1933

CITY FIREMAN DIED OF OLD INJURIES
Nicholas Romaine Had Been Hurt by Falling Brick Wall in 1925

Injuries suffered while fighting a fire in a junk shop nearly eight years ago, proved fatal today, to Nicholas Romaine*, 48, of 2420 Mickle Street, a city fireman. Romaine died in West Jersey Homeopathic Hospital. 

Romaine, who joined the fire department January 1, 1921, suffered injuries to his lungs and ribs when a brick wall fell on him during the blaze in a junk shop near Third and Division Streets, July 27, 1925. Five other firemen also were hurt.

Romaine was confined in the hospital for nearly five months and never fully regained his health. At various times he was forced to undergo medical treatment, entering the hospital again a year ago. Last September he was again forced to go to the hospital, remaining there until his death today.

At the time he was injured he was a member of Engine Company No. 7 at 1115 Kaighn Avenue. When he returned to duty in December of 1925 he was transferred to Engine Company No. 11, Twenty-seventh Street and Hayes Avenue. He is survived by his widow, Pauline. Funeral arrangements have not been completed.

*"Romain" was the spelling used in this article



Thanks to Tony F. Romaine, grandson of Nicholas Romaine, without whose research this page would not have been possible. Click here for additional information about Nicholas Romaine.


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