LEONARD EDWARD OSHUSHEK was born April 1, 1918 in Carney's Point NJ to Clara and Samuel Oshushek. The family moved to Camden in the early 1920s. By 1824 Samuel Oshushek had joined the Fire Department. He and his family, which included sons Leonard and Edwin, lived at 1639 Pulaski Street

Samuel and Clara Oshushek experienced some marital difficulties in the late 1920s but had reconciled by April of 1930, as the Census records of that year show the family intact and living at 1639 Pulaski Street. Selective Service records show that Samuel Oshushek was still with the Fire Department in the spring of 1942. Son Leonard Oshushek had joined the Fire Department on November 13, 1941.

During 1941 while anticipating the possibility of an enemy attack, air raid sirens were installed on the roofs of local industries, businesses and public buildings as well as firehouses.  

The sense of increased urgency was evident in a municipal directive issued By Public Safety Commissioner Mary W. Kobus in 1942 stating: "If an Emergency signal is received from the United States Arms Information Center advising local defense officials that an air raid is imminent, all fire apparatus and other emergency vehicles will be placed on the apron in front of their respective quarters and their sirens, exhaust whistles or other audio devices shall be sounded as an air raid warning".

A number of Federal Decrees were also enacted regulating public conduct in the event of air raid warnings. With the sounding of alarms, all civilian traffic must stop and everyone must seek shelter. One new Federal Regulation prohibited fire apparatus from using sirens in response to alarms. Under war-time regulations, sirens would be reserved exclusively for air raid warnings.

The use of audible warning devices by fire apparatus was restricted to bells only. The burden to both fire fighters and the public safety was formidable. On March 1, 1942, the inevitable happened. Engine Company 8 while responding to an alarm was involved in a collision with a ten ton truck at Third Street and Kaighn Avenue. Upon impact all of the firemen were thrown into the street. The truck driver declared that he failed to hear the bells of the approaching apparatus. The mishap resulted in injuries to six members and total destruction of the apparatus. Captain Alvin Thompson was listed in critical condition, while Firemen Mitchell Wojtkowiak, Philip Farrow, Leonard Oshushek, Lawrence Boulton and Edwin Robbins were admitted for lesser injuries. Battalion Chief Newton stated that he believed the accident might have been avoided if fire companies were not prohibited from using sirens. 

On the same day another mishap occurred at Ninth Street and Ferry Avenue when Engine 3 was struck by an automobile, the motorist stating that he heard the bell but thought the apparatus was somewhere behind him. A week later Ladder Company 2 was involved in yet another crash at Tenth Street and Kaighn Avenue when the motorist said he did not hear the apparatus coming.

The war-time regulations would continue to hamper the Department for the next three years. Deputy Chief Charles Erickson registered a complaint with Commissioner Rhone to see what could be done about lifting the ban.  

By 1969 Leonard Oshushek was living at 1352 Sheridan Street. He retired from the Camden Fire Department on December 1, 1971. He was still living on Sheridan Street as late as 1980. A resident of Franklinville NJ in his later years, he passed away on March 17, 2006.

Camden Courier-Post - January 15, 1938

Camden Courier-Post
February 8, 1962

South 24th Street
  Leonard Oshushek

Camden Courier-Post - June 2, 1967
John Brzozowski - Leonard Oshushek - Spencer Smith Jr. - Joseph Kane
Frances Brooks - Marlton Avenue - Leah Burns

Camden Courier-Post
August 16, 1968

FIREMAN enters home at 917 North 30th Street., Camden, where blaze broke out in first-floor living room early today and caused extensive damage. Acting Battalion Chief Leonard Oshushek said the fire apparently was caused by careless smoking. Matthew Mengle, owner and occupant of the 21/2-story frame dwelling, arrived home to find firemen fighting the blaze.

Camden Courier-Post * March 19, 2006

Camden Courier-Post * March 19, 2006

Age 87, of Franklinville, formerly of Camden, died on Friday, March 17, 2006, in S.J. Reg. Medical Center, Vineland.
Born in Carneys Point, Mr. Oshushek lived in Camden for many years. He has been a resident of Franklinville for 26 years. Prior to retirement after 32 years of service, he was an acting Chief for the City of Camden Fire Department.
Beloved husband of the late Lillian (nee Slavinski). Devoted father of Virginia C. von Rhine (Carl) of Port Norris and Christopher A. Oshushek (Colleen) of Franklinville. Dear brother of Edwin O'Shea (Arlene) of W. Collingswood Heights.
Funeral service 10 AM, Tuesday, March 21 in the BARCLAY FUNERAL HOME, Broad and Maple Sts., Clayton, NJ (856) 881-3040. Viewing Tuesday, 9 AM to service time. Entombment Harleigh Cemetery, Camden.