Winslow Township Fire Department-Station 253

Cedar Brook Volunteer Fire Company

LINE OFFICERS

  • Captain Lou Raciti 
  • Lieutenant Glenn Charney

EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

  • President Robert Maschke
  • Vice-President Glenn Charney
  • Secretary  Dalton Verderame
  • Asst. Secretary Bruce Schlessinger
  • Treasurer Harold DeWitt
  • Trustee Chairman Joseph Littley

Trustees

  • Karl Auwarter 
  • Joe Bigwood
  • John DiThomas
  • Bruce Schlessinger

History

In the early 1920’s, residents of the Cedar Brook area of Winslow Township became concerned about how long it took nearby fire companies from Atco, Berlin, and Hammonton to respond to fires in Winslow Twp.  In August of 1925, local residents joined together and the Cedar Brook Volunteer Fire Company became chartered.  The original firehouse was the building at Route 73 and Meyers Ave, which now houses the Winslow Twp. EMS.  Their first piece of apparatus was a 1920 Chevrolet open-cab pumper truck.  Fire company members took turns tending to a coal stove during the winter months to keep the building at a suitable temperature and so the water in the truck would not freeze.  The fire company members and the Ladies’ Auxiliary raised funds for all of their expenses by hosting ravioli and turkey dinners, carnivals, dances, and door-to-door fund drives.

 

Residents would report a fire in Cedar Brook by calling a switchboard operator at the Ancora State Hospital, who would then call the Casario residence or Pat Casario’s local barbershop.  A switch at the Casario residence would activate a tower-mounted siren at the firehouse, alerting members to the fire.  Since its founding, the fire company was responsible for all of its expenses which included apparatus purchase and maintenance, insurance, fuels, utilities, firefighting gear, and training.  In the 1940’s, an Army surplus truck was purchased and converted by the members into a truck for fighting field and woods fires.  That truck remained in service through the 1990’s when it was replaced by a modern brush-fire truck.  In 1955, a GMC truck chassis was purchased, onto which a 1600-gallon water tank and a fire pump were installed by the company members and Brimfield’s Truck Service in Braddock.  In 1968 the fire company purchased the old Cedar Brook School building, constructed an addition to the front of the property for apparatus housing, and they have occupied that building ever since.  It was at this time that the company obtained a Bingo gaming license, and bingo games were held weekly for fundraising to help with all of their expenses. 

 

The early 1970’s saw another addition to the firehouse with a new apparatus bay constructed on the north side of the building, which still accommodates the company’s equipment.  As the population increased, so did the number of new members and the number of fire calls.  In 1973, the fire company purchased a Ward LaFrance custom pumper with a 1000 gallon-per-minute pump and a 1000 gallon water tank.  A GMC utility truck was purchased in 1975, and a new Pierce 1500-gpm custom pumper in 1979.  In 1987, the fire company and the township governing body entered into a partnership to purchase a new LTI 100-foot ladder tower, the township’s first true ladder truck.  The township also purchased four new pumper trucks for other Winslow Twp. fire companies, marking the end of the era where volunteer fire companies were responsible for purchasing their own apparatus. 

 

In 1989 the Winslow Township Fire District was formed, which greatly reduced the financial burden on the individual fire companies.  In 2000, the district moved its offices into the Cedar Brook firehouse after the membership agreed to give up the space once used for fundraising activities.  Renovations to the former bingo and dance hall included office space and storage areas along with a large meeting and training room.  In 2017, after nearly 50 years of ownership, the Cedar Brook Fire Company turned over their entire building and surrounding property to the Fire District, at a cost to the township of just one dollar.  The members of the Cedar Brook Volunteer Fire Company still operate out of that building and are proud to have served the residents of Winslow Township for over 90 years, continuing to do so with honor and distinction.