Arthur
C.
Batten


ARTHUR CUELLEN BATTEN was born on February 27, 1904 in Glassboro, New Jersey to John Alexander Batten and his wife, the former Mary Emma Gurlin. He was one of ten children, and he had two step-brothers from his father's previous marriage. The John A. Batten family had relocated to Camden by 1906, taking up residence at 807 South 9th Street, and were still at that address as late as 1924. Arthur Batten attended school through the sixth grade and like many other boys of his era, went to work to help his family. The 1920 Census shows him working as a machinists helper at a forge. He later worked repairing automobiles. 

When the 1924 Camden City Directory was compiled, Arthur Batten was still single and living with his parents and siblings at the South 9th Street address. Older brother Raymond, who had served four year in the Navy prior to America's entry into World 

War I, was living with his wife Bennetta at 1132 North 22nd Street in Cramer Hill. Arthur Batten would later make his home at this address. This home would remain in the Batten family for over 53 years.

Arthur C. Batten, who was known to friends, family, and his brother firefighters as Artie, was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on March 4, 1927. He married Mabel Greenwood about the same time. The Battens were blessed with a son, Melvin Arthur, in July of 1929, but tragically, he died shortly after his birth. A daughter, Karen, would come later. His early years with the Fire Department were served with Engine Company 2 at Fire headquarters, North 5th and Arch Streets.

Shortly before 8 A.M. on July 11, 1929, a twelve year old boy walking along Front Street near Elm saw smoke coming from the West Jersey Paper Company. The factory building, a large structure, was heavily fortified with reinforced doors and steel mesh window screens. The Box at Point and Pearl Streets was transmitted and Engines 6, 4 and 2 with Ladder 1 and Battalion 1 turned out. As the alarm was received shortly before Roll Call, several units responded with the manpower of double strength companies. The building's fortifications posed serious forcible entry and ventilation problems for arriving fire fighters. By the time companies got water on the blaze, the entire paper and lime stock was ruined. The factory erupted into huge clouds of dense, acrid smoke as the fire extended to roll after roll of paper stock. Armed with pike poles and axes, Truckies wore themselves out forcing entry to countless windows and doors along the perimeter of the building.

As handlines were advanced to the interior of the structure, Hosemen Harry Layton and George Kirby became lost inside the factory under worsening smoke conditions. Fortunately, Kirby located a doorway and guided Layton to the outside where both men collapsed in the street. The new mascot of Engine Company 2, Jack the Airedale, belonged to Fireman Artie Batten. This blaze was the dog's first major fire and he caused considerable comment among the men. Dashing into the heavily charged building, accompanying Fireman Batten and braving the dense smoke for twenty minutes at a time, the mascot would only return to the street when Engine 2 would withdraw for a blow of fresh air. For many years to come, Jack would attend hundreds of fires with Engine Company 2, and would later be killed in the line of duty. In all, seven fire fighters were overcome in the dense smoke of the paper factory. The blaze resulted in a $65,000 property loss and was the third serious fire to occur at that location in twenty-five years.

When the census was taken in April of 1930, Arthur and Mabel Batten were renting a home at 856 Mount Ephraim Avenue. Mabel's father, John Greenwood, was living with them, and they supplemented their income by renting a room to Amelia Kellner, who worked at the RCA-Victor factory. The Battens' next door neighbors at 854 were Mr. and Mrs. Winfield Leviseur. Mr. Leviseur was a fellow member of the Camden Fire Department. The Battens moved to 1186 Jackson Street during the 1930s. By 1940 they had moved across the street to 1187 Jackson Street.

During the 1930s both Artie Batten and his wife Mabel were active in the Camden Police and Fireman's Association and the Camden Police and Firemen's Association Ladies Auxiliary, which maintained a clubhouse at 1175 Whitman Avenue. He was part of a committee that put together a testimonial dinner for Herbert Bott, outgoing president of the association, on February 4, 1938.

In August of 1941, Arthur Batten was selected to be one of the Camden Fire Department members who would serve in the honor guard at the funeral of City Commissioner Henry Magin.

The 1943 Camden City Directory shows Arthur Batten living at 1165 Lansdowne Avenue. By 1947 the Batten family had moved to 1132 North 22nd Street in Camden's Cramer Hill neighborhood, where his brother Raymond and his wife also lived. Arthur and Mabel Batten lived in Fairview during the middle  and late 1950s. Raymond Batten passed away in December of 1963, and it appears that Arthur and Mabel Batten returned to North 22nd Street around that time.

Among Arthur Batten's later assignments were a captaincy in the 1960s with Rescue Company 1, of which he had been one of the original members. While with Rescue Company 1 he invented an un-patented device called a ring cutter that was used to remove finger jewelry. The rescue Company responded to many calls where pregnant women were unable to remove their wedding rings and other jewelry, which was necessary at time of delivery. Arthur Batten's tool was refined from the modification of a conventional can opener and the original device is still being used as of August, 2008.

By February of 1967 Arthur C. Batten had been promoted to Acting Battalion Chief. 

Arthur C. Batten served for 32 years with the Camden Fire Department, before retiring on February 28, 1969. He had suffered a heart attack while fighting a fire which necessitated his retirement. He was not, however, done serving the City of Camden and his brother fire fighters. Captain Batten had always supported the South Jersey Fire Buff's Association, whose members included Bob Bartosz and Bob Dolan, who with Volunteers of America Col. William Gwynne, who operated a canteen truck that would come out to provide coffee and refreshments to fire fighters at all hours of the day and night and in all weather conditions. Arthur Batten convinced his doctors to allow him to go out with the Canteen Truck. For as long as his health permitted, Artie Batten continued to respond to fire calls and provided aid and assistance to his comrades.

Eventually deteriorating health made his involvement with the Fire Buffs Association impossible. Arthur C. Batten passed away on April 18, 1972, survived by his wife, and daughter. The family was still living at the Cramer Hill address as late as 1977, but by 1980 had left Camden. Mabel Batten, last a resident of Laurel Springs, New Jersey, joined her husband on February 28, 1999.  


From the early 1930s - Fire Mascot "Jack" with Engine 2 and Ladder 1

Click on Images to Enlarge


Camden Courier-Post - February 9, 1933

COPS AND FIREMEN WILL ELECT TODAY
Herbert Bott Is Unopposed for Presidency of Camden Association

The Camden Police and Firemen's Association will hold election of officers today at its headquarters, 1175 Whitman Avenue, from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

Herbert Bott is unopposed for re-election as president. William Thorn is unopposed to replace Richard Middleton for financial secretary and Walter Vecander is unopposed for the new post of assistant financial secretary. All these are police officers.

The police trustees will be named from the following nine candidates: William Marter, George Ward, William Britner, Joseph Shreeve, William Schriber, Joseph Mardino, Joseph Dunnett, Leon Feltz and Russell Young. Two police sergeant-at-arms will be chosen from among Stanley Wirtz, Harry Cattell, Joseph Schultz and George Clayton.

Three candidates are seeking the post of vice president, which goes to a fireman. They are William Spencer, Charles Edwards and Albert Dukes. Warren Rich, a fireman, is slated to succeed himself as recording secretary and Winfield Leviseur is unopposed for the new post of assistant recording secretary, which goes to a fireman.

Four fireman trustees will be chosen from ten candidates. They are Charles Cook, Henry Baumgartel, Walter Eastlack, Arthur Batten, William Getner, William Toy, Lawrence Newton, James Young, Russell Anderson and William Taylor. Three firemen are seeking two posts as sergeants-at-arms. They are William Judge, John Mulligan and Furman Price.


Camden Courier-Post - February 10, 1933

BOTT CHOSEN HEAD OF POLICEMEN, FIREMEN
Spencer Wins 3-Corner Fight for Vice-President of Association

Lauded by the members for his splendid work in behalf of the club, Herbert Bott, a  patrolman attached to the Third Police District, last night was re-elected president of the Camden Police and Firemen's Association.

The praise was heaped upon the patrolman following announcement that he had received 107 of 110 votes cast in yesterday's balloting. He was unopposed for reelection.

In a three-cornered fight, William I. Spencer, a fireman, was elected vice president of the association. He received 73 votes. His opponents were Charles Edwards, given 12 votes, and Albert Dukes, 18 votes. Both are firemen.

Others unopposed for office were: William Thorn, financial secretary; Walter Vecander, assistant financial secretary; Warren Rich, recording secretary, and Winfield Leviseur, assistant recording secretary. The last two are firemen while the first two are policemen.

Lieutenant George Ward, Patrolman William Marter, and Firemen William Taylor, William Getner, James Young and Lawrence Newton were elected to the board of trustees.

Sergeants-at-arms named were Stanley Wirtz and George Clayton, police, and William Judge and John Mulligan, firemen. All had opposition.

After the ballots had been counted William H. Iszard, former assemblyman, appeared on behalf of the Elks Crippled Kiddies Committee, and asked police to support the wrestling show to be staged by that group February 13..



Funeral for Fire Mascot Jack

Below, November 1935, at grave site immediately following ceremony for "Jack", from left: Fireman John Yates, Captain William Van Pfefferle, Fireman William Hopkins, Fireman Lester Anderson, Acting Captain Edgar Ellender, Deputy Chief William Harring.

Click on Image to Enlarge

The American Fire Service has always held domesticated animals as esteemed mascots and the Camden Fire Department was certainly no exception. Through the years there have been many types of mascots in the Department including monkeys, cats, goats, and of course the most popular mascot, the dog. Dating back to the days of horse drawn fire apparatus and even earlier when carriage dogs formed an integral bond with horses, canines distinguished themselves as animals especially attuned to firehouse life.

Jack was the company mascot of Engine 2 and Ladder 1 at old Fire Headquarters for over five years and he was described as an intelligent Airedale of good humored nature. Jack never missed an opportunity to climb aboard the apparatus and answer alarms with his beloved masters. The sight of Engine Company 2 roaring out Federal Street with Jack perched high atop the apparatus, wind blowing in his face amid the shrill pitch of the buckeye whistle and clanging bells was a unforgettable scene. Occasionally and as with all active canines, Jack would be out of quarters and around the corner or down the street when an alarm was transmitted. At such times he would dash down Fifth Street until he caught up with the rolling apparatus and would skillfully leap upward to his accustomed place on the rig. It was under these circumstances that Jack lost his life.

The Department phone jingled and the Housewatchman turned out both companies for an alarm at 119 N. 9th Street. Jack got a late start on the hike and chased the apparatus out Federal St. where he tangled with an automobile at Broadway. While trying to avoid the car Jack darted into the path of the apparatus and was fatally injured. The men of the Engine and Truck were heart broken. Jack was buried the next day in the rear yard of Fire Headquarters in the place that had been his home since puppyhood. Flowers were planted to adorn the fresh grave while some of the toughest Firemen in the house were visibly grief stricken. One year later on the anniversary of Jack's death a memorial service was held after Roll Call in the rear yard of Fire Headquarters. The members erected a tombstone and in a quiet service, Fireman John Yates blew taps over Jack's grave. There were no words spoken. All that needed to be said was inscribed upon the little headstone; "Our Faithful Pal Jack" died in service, November 5, 1934.


Camden Courier-Post - February 4, 1938

City Police Praised at Fete
Honoring Acting Lieutenant Bott

Camden police and firemen gathered last night to pay honor to Acting Lieutenant Herbert Bott, retiring president of the Policemen and Firemen's Association, heard their highest superiors make these statements:

Commissioner Mary W. Kobus, director of Public Safety, declared she had heard stories about the policemen "taking" but that she wanted to say "that the entire force was honest and she was proud to say that it was as good, as honest and efficient as any in. the United States."

Mayor George E. Brunner asserted "the city had gone to ____ before the three New Deal commissioners took charge, and they had brought order out of chaos, collected taxes so thoroughly that on January 1, 1939, the policemen and firemen will be given back the last five percent reduction that had been made in their pay."

Bott, who has been at the head of the association for the past five years, retires because, as he stated, he felt he could not give such service as he felt he had rendered in the past. The affair was held at Kenney's and the ranking officials of the police and fire departments were on hand, together with guests from other parts of the state.

   LIEUT. HERBERT BOTT who quit as president of the Camden Policemen and Firemen's Association after five years' service, and who was feted at Kenney's last night and presented with cash donations.

Wallace Lauds Men

Bruce A. Wallace was toastmaster, and he emphasized the remarks of Commissioner Kobus as to "the honesty of the men."

"When you got that 30 percent reduction in pay,” said Wallace, "I know how you came to my office, worrying about how you would meet your building and loans, how you would pay various debts that you owed, and I know that some of you even gave up your homes, because you couldn't afford to pay for them longer. That would never have happened if you were doing any 'put and-take stuff'."

Mrs. Kobus started with a tribute to Bott, for his own efficiency as a policeman and his fighting qualities as shown in the battles he made for his brother policemen.

 “I knew Herb Bott," she said, "before I got into the department but once in there my sweet dream changed to a nightmare, because every day Bott was there with a delegation wanting something done for the policemen, or asking that something be not done to them.

"We have gone through stormy times together, through strikes and labor troubles and of course I have always found out, through others, naturally that 'the police are always wrong.' I have told the employers where they were wrong, and told the strikers that the police could not have abused them or wronged them because they belonged to an association of their own, fighting for the things that the policemen and the firemen felt that they wanted.

Citizens Gave Praise 

"I hadn't been four weeks in the department before I thought every­body in Camden was affected by 'letter writingitis.' But after four weeks the other kind of letters began to come in, and the police were being given the credit which they had deserved and which they had won for themselves.

"And the longer I am in the department the prouder I am of the police and the fire departments of the city of Camden. I am proud of every policeman and of every fireman in both departments. I have been out at·1.30 a. m. and heard a call come for the car in which I was riding, and in one minute and a half that car was at the scene, in two minutes there was another and in four minutes a half a dozen cars had appeared on the scene.

"I want to say for the men of the police department that nowhere in the United States is there a more honest or more faithful group of men.

"I hear a lot of talk about policemen, I hear lots of talk of how they are 'taking,' but I also want to say that I haven't found one yet who wasn't honest and to prove it crime today in Camden is at its lowest ebb.

"Crime today in Camden has been lowered 40 to 60 percent, and I say to anybody who wants to know that you couldn't have had this condition unless Camden was guarded by an honest, efficient police department.

"That crime in Camden is at its lowest ebb is due entirely to the vigilance of the police department, and to its loyalty to duty. I want to pay tribute to Chief Colsey, to Babe Clayton, to Herb Bott and the other officers of the department for having the police department where it can be proudly acclaimed as without a superior in the whole United States."

Mayor Brunner, after paying his tribute to a personal friend, Herb Bott, declared "Mrs. Kobus is your superior but I'm the man who has to find the money to pay you. And that hasn't been any easy job, I can tell you, as the tax collector's job in any community is a tough one."

"I want to say that things in Camden have gone to ___ in the past, and until the three New Deal Commissioners took charge of affairs, things continued in just that manner. And that we have given an honest, efficient administration is the thought of the average citizen of Camden today.

Promises Pay Restoration

"When we first came into power the people thought they had to pay no taxes. I say now that we have collected the taxes as they should have been collected in the past and as they will be collected in the future.

"Camden doesn't need any new taxes. We have been successful in collecting the taxes because we made those who could pay to pay. The men we put in front, for the first collection of taxes, were the politicians who thought they stood in a favored group and could get away with it.

"I want to assure you policemen that on January 1, 1939, I feel sure that we'll be able to give you back the last five percent that we had to take from you, when things were left in such a shape for us that we could not do anything else.

"People are responding to our tax collections, and the people feel that we are giving them 100 cents for a dollar and that's the reason.

"We have no favorites on the tax rolls. We saw to it that the politicians headed the list of those who were the first to pay, and we've given the little fellow a chance. We've let him pay by the week, or the month or anyway that would suit him best, because we believe that the little fellow is entitled to his own homestead, and we're going to see that he keeps it, but those who can afford to pay and wont are going to be made to pay."

Carlton W. Rowand related that his father, a former police official, had recently, told his son that "the police department today was the best in the history of Camden,"

Surrogate Frank B. Hanna also added his tribute to the department and to the guest of honor.

"The spirit of the police department”, Hanna said, "is shown to no better advantage than in the manner your association aids the underprivileged children of this city. I know, too, that whenever a committee is formed for a job to be done for the men in the department, Herb Bott jumps into action and does his level best for his associates.”

N. J. Crime Bill 10 Millions

Harry B. Gourley, of Paterson, president of the State Police Beneficial Association, declared that crime was costing the state of New Jersey $10,000,000 every year, and that the crime bill of the nation was more than $15,000,000,000.

He asked co-operation in crime prevention and declared that "any attempt to break down the morale of the police was wrong, and the way in which it was easiest broken down was when you dip into the pay check."

He cited numerous instances of the heroism of the policemen, and asked that every citizen stand squarely behind the men in the matter of pensions.

Commissioner Harold W. Bennett also lauded the guest and the police department, as did Harry Wilkers, who succeeds Bott as president of the association and Robert Wonstetler, who becomes delegate to the state convention to replace Bott.

Mrs. Emma Shriver, retiring president of the Ladies Auxiliary, presented Bott with a check, while Wallace gave him the gift of his associates, 50 silver dollars. Mrs. Bott was remembered with flowers.

Willard Schriver was chairman of the committee having the dinner in charge, and associated with him were Charles Cook, Arthur Batten, Maurice F. O'Brien, William Marter, Edward Leonard, Mrs. Schriver, Mrs. Anna Gleason and Mrs. William McGrath.


Camden Courier-Post * February 4, 1938

Heads Auxiliary

MRS. ANNA GLEASON, who was elected president of the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Camden Police and Firemen's Association, 1175 Whitman Avenue. She is the widow of Lester A. Gleason. Other newly elected officers are Mrs. E. Schriver, vice president; Mrs. Ruth Baker, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Mable Batten, secretary, and Mrs. Martha Bendzyn, treasurer.


Camden Courier-Post * February 17, 1938
WONSETLER HAILED AS NEXT PRESIDENT OF STATE
Dinner Speakers Predict Camden Man Will Get Association Post
N. J. OFFICERS ATTEND

Robert Wonsetler, of the Camden Fire Department, was hailed as the next state president of the Firemen's Mutual Benevolent Association at the 41st anniversary dinner of Camden Local, No. 5, last night. It was held in Kenney's Cafe, with 150 members and their women folks attending.

The Camden man is now first vice president of the state association and state representative of the local. James Delaney, of Elizabeth, state president, and other state officers who were among the speakers predicted that when the local has its 42nd anniversary next year, it will have occasion to celebrate the election of Wonsetler as 1939 state president.

Other speakers were Mayor George E. Bruner, City Commissioners Mary W. Kobus and Frank J. Hartmann, Assemblyman Rocco Palese, Fire Chief John H. Lennox, Carlton W. Rowand, Bruce A. Wallace and Freeholder Edward J. Quinlan.

State officers attending, besides Delaney and Wonsetler, were Fred Bailey, Weehawken, second vice president; George Steele, Union City, recording secretary; Joseph Burke, Newark, financial secretary, and Jack Reed, Kearny, treasurer.

Surrogate Frank B. Hanna, who was toastmaster, referred to the three city commissioners present as "candidates for re-election without opposition."

Commissioner Kobus, head of the city fire department, was applauded when she announced wash-stands and showers are being installed in local firehouses and that windbreakers and new fire nets have been ordered.

"The firehouses in Camden are in better condition than ever before,"
Commissioner Hartmann said.

Officers of the Camden Local are Chester Andrus, president; W. Samuel Mountney, vice president; Nelson Andrews, recording secretary; Harrison Pike, financial secretary; Henry Zook, treasurer; Ralph Bingemann, sergeant-at-arms; William H. Harrison, chaplain, and Wonsetler, state representative.

Russell J. Anderson was chairman of the dinner committee, which included Harry Wagner, Arthur Batten, Harry Wilkers, David Humphries and Pike.


Camden Courier-Post - July 1, 1941

POLICE, FIRE GROUP TO HONOR WALLACE

The Camden Police and Firemen's Association will hold an informal buffet supper tonight at its headquarters, 1175 Whitman Avenue, for Bruce A. Wallace, counsel for the association and member of the Delaware River Joint Commission. Invitations have been issued to police chiefs throughout the county, as well as to other officials.

Patrolman William Schriver, president of the association, is chairman of the committee. Other members are Fire Captain Winfield Leviseur, Sergeant Edward Carroll, and Patrolman John Kowal, William McGrath and Arthur Batten.


Camden Courier-Post - August 26, 1941

Henry Magin Laid to Rest By War Veteran Buddies
TRUCKS OF FLOWERS IN FUNERAL CORTEGE

Funeral services for City Commissioner Henry Magin were held today with his colleagues in official and veterans circles participating.

Services were conducted in city commission chambers on the second floor of city hall, in charge of Rev. Dr. W.W. Ridgeway, rector of St. Wilfrid's Episcopal Church.

The casket was carried by war veteran associates of the public works director, who died from a heart attack Friday. A color guard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion preceded the casket, followed by the four remaining members of the city commission, Mayor George Brunner and commissioners E. George Aaron, Mrs. Mary W. Kobus and Dr. David S. Rhone.

A guard of honor lined both sides of' city hall steps, 22 policemen on one side and 22 firemen on the other, representing Magin's age, 44 years.

Hundreds of men and women waited outside the building to pay their respects as the solemn procession filed by. Mayor Brunner had declared this morning a holiday for city employees. The casket was borne by Thomas Jackson and Samuel Magill, both past Legion commanders; Leon McCarty, past commander of August Walter Chapter, Disabled American Veterans; Richard Jermyn, past commander of Post 1270, Veterans of Foreign Wars; Benjamin P. Thomas, past captain of Sparrow Ship No. 1269. V. F. W.; and William Miller, past State commander, D. A. V.  

Three trucks were required to carry the floral pieces from the scene of the services to the National Cemetery at Beverly, where burial took place.  

An estimated 8000 persons from all walks of life paid their respects to the late official by viewing the body as it lay in state in the commission chambers.

The throng of mourners of Camden city and county was the largest to converge on a public building since the funeral of Fire Chief Charles Worthington, who was killed while fighting a fire almost 20 years ago. His body was placed on public view in the rotunda of the old county courthouse.

File Past Bier  

A continuous progression of people filed past the flag draped bier for more than three and one-half hours. Scores of Republicans and hundreds of Democrats joined in the tribute.

Services were conducted by Camden lodges of Elks and Moose. Military rites were conducted by the Fairview Post, American Legion, of which Magin was a founder and past commander. The tribute was led by Mitchell Halin, post commander, and C. Richard Allen, past department commander.  

James W. Conner, chief clerk of the city water bureau and past State Commander of the V.F.W., conducted rites at the grave.  

Mayor Brunner and Commissioners Kobus, Aaron, and Rhone came early and remained throughout the hours of viewing. Mrs. Helen Magin, the widow, and daughter Helen, attired in deep mourning, arrived shortly after 7:00 PM.

Embraces Widow, Daughter  

Commissioner Kobus, who knelt in prayer before the bier, arose and went over to Mrs. Magin and her daughter. Mrs. Kobus embraced and kissed the widow and daughter of the late commissioner. They were in tears.  

Three firemen and three policemen maintained a vigil as a guard of honor. They were Patrolmen Jack Kaighn, George Weber, and William Deery and Firemen Arthur Batten, Warren Carter and William Reed.

American Legion and V. F. W. members in uniform alternated as members of the military guard of honor. A detail of 50 policemen was under command of Acting Lieutenant John Garrity. Fifty firemen, under supervision of Deputy Chief Walter Mertz, assisted the patrolmen in handling the crowd, which at times choked the stairways leading to the second floor.

Freeholders Arrive  

Albert H. Molt, director of the Board of Freeholders and Freeholders John J. Tull, Oscar Moore, Ventorino Francesconi, Stanley Ciechanowski, Earl Armstrong and Emil J. McCall arrived shortly after 7:00 PM. Moore and Tull wore American Legion overseas caps. Albert S. Marvel, clerk of the board, accompanied the freeholders.

Employees of the various bureaus in the department of public works, headed by Commissioner Magin, came in delegations with the highway bureau having 150, the largest number.  

Frank A. Abbott, acting director of the department, accompanied by James P. Carr, superintendent of Streets; led the highway bureau employees. Abbott is deputy director of revenue and finance and first assistant to Mayor Brunner. He was named by Brunner as acting director until the City Commission elects Mr. Magin's successor.

County Clerk Frank J. Suttill, City Clerk Clay W. Reesman, Fire Chief John H. Lennox and James A. Howell, chief of the city electrical bureau, attended, as did Albert Austermuhl, secretary of the board of education. Every city department sent a floral piece.

Outstanding Floral Tribute

Outstanding among the floral tributes was a six-toot broken circle of varied flowers, an offering from Mayor Brunner and Commissioners Kobus, Aaron, andRhone.

A floral chair was sent by the Camden Police and Firemen’s Association. The word “Rest” was made up of flowers. The offering of the Veterans League of South Jersey, an organization formed by Commissioner Magin and of which he was the first president, was a large floral pillow.

The freeholders and county officials gave a large floral basket. Floral tributes came from the employees of the board of education, the RCA Manufacturing Company, the police and fire bureaus, Pyne Point Athletic Association, the Elks, Moose and several Democratic clubs.  

The floral tributes came in such numbers yesterday afternoon that Funeral Director Harry Leonard and his assistants could not find room for them in the commission chamber proper. They were banked on both sides, in the rear and over the casket.

Among prominent officials and citizens who came to pay their respects were Congressman Charles A. Wolverton and his son, Donnell, Assemblymen Joseph W. Cowgill and J. Frank Crawford, Sidney P. McCord, city comptroller, Thomas C. Schneider, president of Camden County Council No. 10, New Jersey Civil Service Association.

Others at Bier

Others were Sue Devinney, secretary to Mrs. Kobus; Fred S. Caperoon; Henry Aitken, city sealer of weights and measures, Horace R. Dixon, executive director of the Camden Housing Authority; George I. Shaw, vice president of the board of education.

Sgt. Ray Smith, chairman of the Elks Crippled Children Committee and commander of East Camden Post, V.F.W.; Albert Becker, commander of Camden County Post 126, Jewish War Veterans; Dr. Howard E. Primas and Wilbur F. Dobbins, members of the Camden Housing Authority; Postmaster Emma E. Hyland; Samuel E. Fulton, member of the Camden local assistance board.  

Also former Assemblyman Rocco Palese, former Freeholder Maurice Bart and wife, County Detective James Mulligan, Deputy City Clerk William D. Sayrs, Mary King, secretary to City Clerk Reesman, Charles W. Anderson and John W. Diehl Jr., former members of the housing authority, Walter P. Wolverton, chief clerk of the public works department; Thomas J. Kenney, Maurice Hertz, Isadore Hermann, chief of the city tax title bureau; S. Raymond Dobbs; acting chief of city property, John Oziekanski, building inspector, Harry Langebein, city assessor.

Oliver H. Bond, housing manager of Clement T. Branch Village; former Judge Joseph Varbalow, acting city counsel John J. Crean, assistant City Counsel Edward V. Martino, Paul Day, secretary of city board of assessors, former Assemblyman William T. Iszard, Harry Roye, district director of NYA; Victor J. Scharle and Martin Segal, Democratic and Republican registrars, respectively, of the Camden County permanent registration bureau.  

Mrs. Marian Garrity and Mrs. Mary F. Hendricks, vice chairman and secretary respectively, of the Republican City Committee; Dr. Ethan A. Lang and Dr. Richard P. Bowman, members of the board of education; Edward J. Borden, Carl Kisselman, Harry A. Kelleher, Samuel T. French Sr., former Freeholder Walter Budniak, Coroner Paul R. Rilatt, County Treasurer Edward J. Kelleher, William Shepp, of the city legal bureau, Marie Carr, stenographer, mayor's office; Samuel T. French Jr., member, board of education.

Also John C. Trainor, member of the Camden County Board of Elections; Antonio Mecca, funeral director; Alexander Feinberg, solicitor of the housing authority, former Freeholder John T. Hanson, Sterling Parker and Paul Reihman, member of the county park commission.  

James O’Brien, commander of the Camden Disabled American Veterans, was in charge of services by veterans at the cemetery. Former Freeholder Edward J. Quinlan, county vice-commander of the American Legion, directed last night memorial services and was in charge of the firing squad at the grave.  


Captain Arthur C. Batten with Rescue Company 1
at a junkyard fire at South 6th Street and Chestnut Street - June 1964
Photo by Bob Bartosz


The Ring Cutter in Service - A Rescue Company 1 Special
Called to South Camden with a ring cutter, moments of anxiousness are turned to joy following quick work and kind reassurance by Fireman Ernest Tartaglia. Circa 1965
Fireman Tartaglia made the Ultimate Sacrifice while responding to a call on December 9, 1967

Click on Images to Enlarge
Photos by Bob Bartosz

Camden Courier-Post - February 1967

4 Trapped in Blaze Saved by Firemen
By JOSEPH McCARTHY
Courier-Post Staff

City firemen fought smoke, flames; snow and a biting cold during the night and early morning hours as a rash of fires severely damaged four buildings and destroyed a tavern.

According to Public Safety Director Keith Kauffman, at one point only two engine companies were not actively fighting the blazes as seven engine companies, three ladder companies, the rescue squad and three battalion chiefs were at the fire scenes.

At the site of the worst fire, 5th and Mickle Streets, police and firemen braved dense smoke and fierce flames to rescue four elderly persons trapped in first, second and third floor apartments.

Started In Tavern Lounge

The blaze, which broke out in the lounge of Ray's Tavern, was discovered by Patrolmen Augustus Balzano and Anthony Saponare at 3:58  a.m. after they were alerted of smoke by highway employees battling the second snowstorm of the week.

The two policemen, after radioing the alarm, kicked in the door of the tavern and raced through the smoke and flames to rescue Mrs. Agnes Lockhart, 58, from her upstairs apartment.

The patrolmen took Mrs. Lockhart to Cooper Hospital where she was admitted with a cut head and smoke inhalation.

Minutes later firemen, headed by Battalion Chief Biaggio Ardire, arrived. Ardire said the tavern was engulfed in smoke and flames. He said the flames leaped from the tavern roof to a luncheonette and apartment building next door.

Ardire said firemen raised a ladder to the third floor of the second building where Mrs. Mabel Seward, 64, was hanging from a window ledge. However, fireman were hampered in the rescue attempt by the narrow space of the alley and could only hold the screaming woman until other firefighters could make their way to the third floor window from inside the building.

The rescuers, wearing face masks, wrapped Mrs. Seward in blankets and carried here through the flames to safety.

Two Carried Out

At the same time, more fire fighters entered the burning building and carried out Mrs. Viola Lagerprantz, 65, who lived in a rear apartment on the first floor and John J. Smith, 86, from a second-floor apartment.

All the victims were taken to Cooper Hospital for smoke inhalation treatment and released an hour later.

Kauffman ordered the victims, still wrapped in blankets, taken to fire headquarters at 3rd and Arch Streets and notified city welfare authorities. The Welfare Department obtained temporary housing for the three victims at Volunteers of America headquarters,  828 Market Street. Each victim lost all possessions in the blaze. 

Additional Alarms

Ardire, at, 4:27 a.m. called for additional fire crews and an hour later requested more aid. Battalion Chief Daniel Jiannetto's unit answered the first distress call while Acting Battalion Chief Arthur Batten's men arrived on the second plea.

 Batten's unit had been fighting two North Camden blazes since 10:53 last night.

Ardire said that when firemen attempted to get into the buildings, the fire was raging forward, backward, and straight up the stairwells out of control.

The owner of the luncheonette, Dominic Padulla; arrived at the scene about 5:30 a.m. Padulla and his brother, Frank, who also had been out, live on the first floor.

Canteen Truck on Scene

Volunteers of America Canteen truck with Colonel William Gwynne also was at the scene and served firemen coffee and donuts.

Fire Chief Edward Michalak said he has ordered a complete investigation of the fire.

Kauffman said 5th Street south of Mickle  and Mickle Street east of 5th has been closed to traffic indefinitely.

In the two other fires in North Camden, a grocery store was damaged at 442 N. 9th Street, and two vacant buildings at 623-625 North Front Street were damaged. 

Grocery Store Blaze

Batten said a defective chimney apparently caused the grocery store blaze which raged through joists and partitions. The store is operated by Benjamin Lamberte while the building is owned by Mrs. Sarah Schecter of Baird Boulevard according to the battalion chief.

Batten's crew were forced to make two trips to the vacant buildings as wind whipped flames. He said the fire probably was caused by vagrants seeking shelter from the snowstorm.             

Before the firefighters could take off their fire apparel, they were dispatched to the 5th and Mickle Street blaze.


Camden Courier-Post

February 1967

FIREMEN climb ladder to the roof and second floor of the blaze which raged out of control at Ray's Tavern, 5th and Mickle Streets, early today. Other firefighters braved dense smoke and flames inside building.


1970 Retirement Dinner

Standing Frank Deal, Clair "Red" Graham, Arthur Batten, Warren Carter
Seated:
Joshua Robinson

Photo by Bob Bartosz


 

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