command of Engineer G.
Rudolph Tenner. Samuel S. Buzine was living at 411 Spruce
Street when he was appointed to the Fire Department. By
September of 1871 he had moved to 506 Walnut Street.
November 10, 1869 Camden's City Council had purchased the
Independence Firehouse, the three-story brick building at 409 Pine
Street, for $4500. The building was designated to serve as
quarters for Engine
Company 1 and the 1st District. On October 29, 1869 City
Council authorized construction of a two-story brick building on
the northwest corner of Fifth
Streets as quarters for the 2nd District. On November 25th
the Fire Commissioners signed a contract with M.N. Dubois in the
amount of $3100 to erect this structure. The 2nd District would
share these quarters with Engine
Company 2 and the Hook
& Ladder Company and the facility would also serve as
department headquarters for the new paid force. The original
contract remains part of the Camden County Historical Society
Amoskeag second class, double pump, straight frame steam engines
were purchased at a cost of $4250 each. Two Silsby two wheel
hose carts, each of which carried 1000 feet of hose, were
another $550 each and the hook & ladder, built by Schanz and
Brother of Philadelphia was $900. Each engine company received a
steam engine and hose cart. Amoskeag serial #318 went to Engine
Company 1, and serial #319 to Engine
Company 2. The Fire Commission also secured the services of
the Weccacoe and Independence steamers in case of fire prior to
delivery of the new apparatus. Alfred McCully of Camden made the
harnesses for the horses. Camden's Twoes & Jones made the
overcoats for the new firemen and a Mr. Morley, also of Camden,
supplied the caps and belts which were manufactured by the
Migeod Company of Philadelphia. The new members were also issued
worn by the marshals, engineers, stokers and engine drivers bore
the initial letter of their respective positions and their
district number. The tillerman and his driver used the number
"3" to accompany their initial letter. The extra men
of the 1st District were assigned badges 1-10; 2nd District
badges were numbered 11-20 and the extra men of the hook &
ladder wore numbers 21-30.
the Fire Commission intended to begin operation of the paid
department on November 20, 1869, the companies did not actually
enter service until December 7th at 6 P.M. because the new
apparatus and buildings were not ready. The new apparatus was
not tried (tested) until December 9th.
new members of the paid force were:
Board of Fire Commissioners consisted of Rudolphus Bingham,
Chairman and Samuel C. Harbert, Richard Perks, Jonathan
Kirkbride and Jacob Daubman.
salaries for the members of the paid force were: Chief Marshal,
$800; Assistant Marshal, $200; Engineer, $600; Driver, $450;
Stoker, $450; Tillerman, $450; Extra Men, $50. All but Extra Men
were paid monthly.
members of the newly organized paid department were former
volunteers and had distinguished themselves as leaders through
their dedication and hard work.
in the Fire Department in these years was not subject to Civil
Service regulations. On June 2, 1873 Samuel Buzine was first
named Assistant Chief Engineer. When the Democrats gained control of City
Council in 1876, future mayor Claudius
elected Chief Engineer for the City of Camden, George
was named as Assistant Engineer, and another
Engine 1 member, Thomas
McLaughlin, was named as Extra Engineer.
Bradshaw and Horneff
were both re-elected in 1877. Cornelius
Brown was promoted to foreman if
Company 1. Samuel Buzine
did not serve with the Fire Department during the years when Claudius
Bradshaw was in charge of the Fire Department.
1879 Samuel Buzine and family had moved to 724 Spruce
Republicans regaining control of the city in 1879, Samuel Buzine
returned to service, this time as foreman of
Brown continued as Engine
men remained in these positions until March 27, 1882. G.
Tenner was then named Engine
1884 Samuel Buzine was named Foreman of
Company 1. He was
promoted to Assistant Engineer the following year, his place
being taken by John
Stockton, who later became Chief of the department. The
Assistant Engineer title was the equivalent of today's Deputy
Chief. Samuel Buzine
served in that capacity until his retirement
in 1911, for all but three years under Samuel S.
Census shows the family residing at 724 Spruce
Street. Two more daughters had joined the Buzine
family, Ella and Wilhelmina. Another daughter, Stella, was born in September of 1882.
Samuel Buzine again left the Fire Department when Daniel A.
Carter was elected Chief in 1882, but returned again three years
later, this time to stay. Samuel S. Buzine worked at the
Browning Brothers dye works at Cooper's Creek and Pine Street
during his time away from the Fire Department.
1885 City Directory lists the Buzine family at 709 Spruce
Directories from 1887 through 1893 show the Buzine family at 708
Street. The 1894 through 1899 Directories lists the
family at 701 Cherry
Street. Sarah Buzine was also running
confectionary out of the address at the time. The family moved
to 757 Spruce
Street late in 1899 or early in 1900.
July 29, 1895 Camden fireman Wilson
Bromley and Assistant Chief Samuel
Buzine were injured On July 29, 1895 when
hose cart overturned at South 6th and Royden
Street. They had been
responding to a test alarm sent by the Fire Committee of City
Council. Sadly, Fire fighter
Bromley was injured while responding
the a fire at the Farr & Bailey oil cloth plant at South
7th Street and Kaighn
Avenue on February 15, 1896. He died as a result of his
injuries on February 28, 1896.
1900 Census shows
Samuel & Sarah Buzine and daughter Stella living at 757 Spruce
Street. Of the five Buzine children, only Stella was
still living at home. The 1906 City Directory, and the 1910 Census list Samuel Buzine
and his wife at 765 Spruce
the many fires Samuel Buzine was involved with during his tenure
with the Camden Fire Department comes this account of the Camden
Storage Warehouse fire of May 1904, written by Lee Ryan for the
Camden Fire Department's 125th Anniversary history book,
published in 1994:
4:57A.M. on May 6, 1904 a phone alarm and several pull boxes
were received for a fire at the Camden Storage Warehouse at
Delaware Avenue and Cooper
Street. The massive five-story building contained 600 rooms
with furniture storage. Smoke and fire could be seen coming from
the fourth floor at the southeast corner of the warehouse. Upon
arrival, Chief Samuel
S. Elfreth transmitted a general alarm as the blaze spread
through the entire fourth floor. Within minutes, engine
companies had water on the fire as additional streams were
directed from the roof of the adjoining E.G. Locke Paper
Company. Hoselines were stretched down Penn and Cooper Streets
and along Delaware Avenue to supplement water supplies.
after 5:00 A.M. part of the fourth floor collapsed, spreading
the fire to the floor below. This collapse was quickly followed
by the crashing of the fifth floor. By 5:30 A.M the front
section of roof collapsed onto Cooper
Street in a thundering roar, creating a shower of blazing
embers that threatened numerous buildings along Amber
Street. Within an hour of its discovery, the fire had
engulfed the entire warehouse. Only through the gallant efforts
of the firefighters was the huge blaze contained. While
spectators described the fire scene as waves of withering heat,
Camden's Bravest held there ground within forty feet of the
walls. The City of Philadelphia offered assistance but Chief
Elfreth declined and by 7:00 A.M. he declared the fire under
battling the blaze, Foreman Amedee
Middleton was struck on the head by falling bricks. Only his
helmet, which cracked, saved his life. Losses were placed at
$50,000. Chief Elfreth
and Assistant Chief
Buzine stated that the blaze was harder to fight than the
Victor Talking Machine fire two weeks prior. Engine
Company 1 assigned to the foreground detail remained on the
scene until 7:00 P.M. and before leaving found two black kittens
still alive in an office area adjoining the ruins of the burned
Camden Post-Telegram newspaper described the departing crew of Engine
Company 1 as "water soaked and the color of coal
stained breaker boys". A crowd of onlookers cheered the
weary firefighters as thy left the scene after fourteen hours at
All the Buzine children had married by
1909. Son William K. Buzine had joined the Camden Fire
Department, as had son-in-law Joseph F. Ernst. Another son-in-law,
Edward Hyde, later became the Chief of police in Camden.
Daughter Clara married James
Roach, who served briefly as a fireman in the 1880s, as a
policeman and constable in the 1890s and 1900s, and as tender of
the State Street Bridge in the 1910s.
July 1, 1911 Samuel Buzine retired from active service with the
Camden Fire Department. He was still residing at 765 Spruce
Street when the 1912-1913 City Directory was compiled.
October 11, 1912 while responding to a false alarm at South 8th
Street, Samuel Buzine's younger brother, Camden Fire
Department firefighter Lewis
Buzine, suffered a stroke while at the reins of Engine
Company 3's apparatus. Strapped to his seat and clutching
the reins in his paralyzed hand, his plight was not discovered
until his team of horses arrived, of there own volition and at a
full gallop, at the Engine
Company 3 fire house at 1813 Broadway.
Taken to his home, Lewis
Buzine died on October 13, 1912.
thereafter, Samuel Buzine
retired to Holly Beach, New Jersey
which in 1912 had become a part of Wildwood. Interestingly enough,
another original member of the Camden Fire Department, Thomas
Grapevine, had moved to Holly Beach several years earlier.
Samuel Buzine is not listed in the 1914 Camden City Directory,
his obituary however, indicates that he kept his home in Camden
and only spent summers in Holly Beach..
S. Buzine passed away at Holly Beach, New Jersey on August 5,
1956 Samuel S. Buzine's great-great-granddaughter, Henrietta
Ernst, married Private William
Latham Jr., who, after leaving the military, served with the
Camden Police and Camden County Prosecutor's office for over