Camden Fire Department
Engine Company 4


Serving North Camden and the waterfront area, Engine Company 4 was organized on June 1, 1890 and entered service that same day at 320 Vine Street. At the height of the Great Depression Camden, like many other New Jersey municipalities, was forced to cut back on city services, and on January 1, 1933 Engine Company 4 and Engine Company 5, located at 27th and Federal Street, were disbanded. Ladder Company 4 was also disbanded for similar reasons on July 5, 1936.

The Engine Company 4 firehouse at 320 Vine Street was sold to a private owner and remained in use through March 2005. 


When first organized, Engine Company 4 consisted of a Foreman, an Engineer, a Driver, and two hosemen..

 The first members of Engine Company 4 are as follows.

Position

Name

Foreman

Amedee Middleton

Engineer

Francis Turner

Driver

Edward Hartman

Stoker

Barney Harvey

Hoseman

Walter Browning

Hoseman

Charles Berry

Annual salaries for the members of the paid force in  1869 were $600 for the Engineer, $450 for the Driver and the Stoker and $50 for the extra men. All but the extra men were paid monthly. The Chief Marshall received $800, and the Assistant Marshall $200 per year as well.


Trenton Evening Times - May 11, 1890
Engine Company 4 - Amedee S. Middleton

ENGINE COMPANY 4
1890
1896
May 6, 1904

Stoker Bob Steer
tending the engine

1915

Be Sure to Click on Images for Enlarged Views


Philadelphia Inquirer - December 21, 1889

Amedee Middleton - Peter Gray - Mort WIlson
Engine Company 3 - Engine Company 4

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 24, 1900

Philadelphia Inquirer
July 11, 1922

James McDade
Clarence Madden

David Bakley
Abraham Kern
William Thompson
Elmer Burkett
Samuel Harring
Engine Company 4

Engine Company 6

Front Street
Linden Street
Tabernacle M.E. Church
Rev. James Lord


Camden Courier - January 20, 1925 

FIREMAN DIES IN EXPLOSION OF CHEMICALS
Companion Hurt As Extinguisher Explodes at Second Street Fire
CAUSE OF BLAST MYSTERY TO FIREMEN
Injured Fireman Finds Self Lying on Comrade's Dead Body
WAS FIREMAN EIGHT MONTHS

...continued...
Peter Carter - Charles Gladney - Samuel Harring - William W. Patterson
Albert Raeuber - Max Koch - North 2nd Street - Pearl Street - Engine Company 4

Camden Dailey Courier - June 6, 1925

Engine Company 4 - Charles Verga


Camden Courier-Post - February 22, 1928
$225,000 FIRE RUINS 5 UPTOWN PLANTS

HOW FLAMES GUTTED BIG INDUSTRIAL BUILDING

RESIDENTS FLEE AS FLAMES RAGE IN BIG BUILDING
Factory of Evans Leather Co. Saved by Valiant Work of Firemen
APPARATUS IS DISABLED; DEBRIS BURIED FIRE PLUG

Metal Stamping Firm, Textile Concern Heavy Losers; Pattern Shop Saved
...continued...

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Thomas Nicholas - James Tatem
Manuel Kane
Harry M. Leigh - David Ellis
Engine Company 2
Engine Company 4
Engine Company 5
Engine Company 6
Segal Street

Click in Images to Enlarge

Camden Courier-Post - June 29, 1933

Fire Station Closes Soon; Mayor Denies Safety Menace
Stewart Declares Underwriters Recommended Change
PROTEST IS MADE BY CIVIC HEAD

Closing of the fire station housing Engine Company No. 4 at Fourth and Vine streets is now under way and will be completed within a few days.

This was announced yesterday by Mayor Roy R. Stewart, who declared the decision to eliminate the station was reached upon recommendation of the National Board of Fire Underwriters. He also stated a thorough survey revealed closing of the station would not impair the efficiency of the fire department.

Frank J. Hartmann, Jr., secretary of the North Camden Civic Association, protested abandonment of the station as a dangerous move at a meeting of the association Monday night.

Hartmann asserted that. if a train was shifting on the north Main street tracks at the time of a fire, a section of North Camden would be without protection because apparatus would be unable to get through from any other part of the city.

Taking issue with Hartmann, the mayor declared that "it stands to reason" that if the tracks were blocked and No. 6 Engine Company at Front and Linden streets could not cross them to reach a fire, then the fire headquarters company at Fifth and Arch streets could battle the blaze.

Protection Provided

"Certainly the city would not abandon any fire station if any section would be endangered thereby," the mayor said. "The Board of Fire Underwriters and the city went into a thorough survey of all factors connected with elimination of the station. It was found that No. 4 station could be closed and its personnel of about a dozen men redistributed among other stations without lowering the fire department's efficiency.

"It stands to reason the city would not let any part of the city be un protected. Engine Company No. 6 will answer all alarms and calls which formerly went to No. 4 company, and if No. 6 company cannot, then surely the company at fire headquarters, Fifth and Arch streets, could reach the fire in the event the tracks may be blocked at intersection.

"I might add also that there is very little shifting of trains along north Main Street compared with a few years ago. However, should there be shifting and a fire on the other side of the tracks, where there may be a fire, what is to prevent the firemen of Engine Company No. 6 from using another intersection a block or so away to cross the railroad intersection? Seldom is a line of freight cars tied up for a long series of blocks in that. neighborhood. And should there be and there is a fire on either side of the tracks, the freight cars could be moved from the intersection speedily. The railroad would net leave many cars tied up without having an engine available on the spot to move them in an emergency."

Boxes Rearranged

The mayor said the closing of No. 6 station should be completed in a few days following the rearrangement of call boxes and other details. The mayor added that elimination of No. 6 was decided upon. instead of the closing of No. 6 house, because No. 6 is a more modern house and its equipment could not be placed in No. 4 house unless the latter's doors were replaced with wider doors and there were other changes at a cost at several hundred dollars. The mayor added that consideration also was given to the fact that more industries are in the area served by No. 6 company and it would be advisable to retain that station, therefore, because of its proximity to them.

"We considered the change from all angles,'" the mayor said, "with a view to economy without affecting efficiency and proficiency. We made careful survey of reports of tires in the respective districts and the proximity of the area which the two houses served to the headquarters at Fifth and Arch streets.

Motors Speed Up Runs

"In the days at horse-drawn fire apparatus, there was the need for many fire stations, but in recent years, with motor equipment, a fire in any part of the city can be reached in comparatively short time, regardless of the location of the station. With all things considered, therefore, the city certainly has taken no step which would endanger any section of the community in the event of fire."  

The mayor said closing of the Fourth and Vine streets station is another step in the city's program to consolidate fire department activities, without lowering efficiency and as a means of retaining low insurance rates despite lower manpower. The program also includes establishment of a firemen's training school, with drill tower, at Tenth and Morgan streets; the abandonment of one or more other stations upon recommendation of the underwriters, and the removal of the electrical bureau from the old to the new city hall.

The mayor said the personnel of the fire department numbers 172, as against 211 in 1931, when he became director of public safety. He stated the changes being effected will offset the reduction in personnel and enable retention of the best fire-fighting efficiency.


Many of the above photographs are from the limited edition book "Fire Department Camden NJ 125 Anniversary 1869-1994". Others are courtesy of Joel Bain of the Camden Fire Department.

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