The Collings Lakes Vol. Fire Dept. was started back in 1964, with one pumper and a small, double-bay firehouse. Through the 1970s, we grew to operating with two pumpers and a utility truck. Today the Collings Lakes Fire Dept. is equipped with ten fire and rescue vehicles to serve the community. Command 12-30, Engine 12-31, Rescue/Pumper 12-32, Tender 12-34, Brush 12-35, Rescue 12-38, Support Vehicle 12-39, and two ambulances; BLS 12-81 and 12-82.
Through training and hard work, we have come a long way from 1964 and plan on moving even further ahead in the coming years and look forward to better serving our community.
Please visit our Apparatus page for more information and pictures of our fire and rescue vehicles.
On Saturday, April 24, 1963, around 10:00 a.m., a massive forest fire swept through the towns of Newtonville, Folsom, Hammonton and Collings Lakes. The fire started off of Unexpected Rd. in Newtonville, jumping major highways such as Rte. 322, Rte. 30 and Rte. 54, passing through the town of Collings Lakes. Fire Departments from all over South Jersey responded to the blaze. Even Fire Depts. from Philadelphia sent Engines and man-power to help battle this fire. The forest fire lasted 4 days, only loosing 1 home in Collings Lakes on the first block of Cains Mill Rd., and was finally extinguished late Tuesday evening, April 28, 1963. Shortly after the fire, Bill Storck and Frank Rubbick decided that Collings Lakes was in desperate need of its own Fire Dept.
Using an old 2 bay garage located off the corner of Cains Mill Rd. and Cedar Lake Dr., the Collings Lakes Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 was created. The old garage belonged to the Newtonville Fire Dept., in which they housed 2 pieces of apparatus. Their current Firehouse is located on Rte. 54 in Newtonville. Later an addition was built onto the garage by the members of the Collings Lakes Fire Dept. Many Sundays went by, and Bill Storck and Frank Rubbick went door-to-door getting petitions signed in order to created the new fire district, now known as District 5 in Buena Vista Township. On February, 1964, the first Collings Lakes Fire District election was held and Joe Quigley, John Quigley, Frank Remhard, Joe Ambrosia and Howard McCormick were elected the first District 5 Fire Commissioners and Frank Trendler was the first President of the Fire Dept. Mrs. Ambrosia gave the Fire Dept. $500.00, in which they used to purchase an old AutoCar from the Star Cross Fire Dept. On the AutoCar was a 500 gallon tank and some booster hose which sat in a basket on top of the car. In 1964, planning began for a new fire engine, an International with a price tag of only $17,000.00 and came fully equipped.
The 1964 Internation was the Collings Lakes Vol. Fire Co. No. 1's first new Fire Engine. Pictured here in 1965 driving down Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City, NJ in the Annual New Jersey Firemen's Relief Association Parade, which is now held in Wildwood, NJ. Riding atop of the Fire Engine was Leo Wilgus (waving), Bill Loder (Leakyboot Loder), the driver was David Moore and Chief Bill Storck was in the passenger's seat.
Bill Storck was the first Chief of the Dept. with Frank Rubbick acting as Asst. Chief and the first fire that the newly created Collings Lakes Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 responded to was Bill Storck's own car, in which they drafted water from the creek next to the building to extinguish the fire. Bill Storck started his volunteer fire career at age 17 with the Ashland Fire Co. No. 1, now known as the Vorhees Fire Dept. Chief Storck had alot of equipment donated to the Collings Lakes Fire Dept. from the Ashland Fire Dept. Bill's wife started the first Collings Lakes Vol. Fire Dept. Ladies Auxiliary, and other members' wives joined in as well, working hard to help their brave Firemen. In fact one way some of the Ladies helped was acting as dispatchers. People in the town were given phone numbers to call and a total of three homes spread out in Collings Lakes were able to activate the siren atop the peak of the Firehouse, and had a list of phone numbers in which they would call Firemen and let them know of a fire, one of which was Asst. Chief Frank Rubbick's wife, Helen. At that time couldn't afford pagers or radios, until a few years later, the Dept. purchased it's first radio for Engine 23-1 and Elizabeth Bowers had the dispatch radio and was the acting dispatcher for the Collings Lakes Fire Dept. And the rest was ..... History!
Alex Meloni (left), President after Frank Trendler, and James Hare, a former Fire Commissioner. Here, Alex is awarding Jim wi th a plaque, in which is also installed on Engine 23-2. This plaque is a dedication to Jim for all his efforts in designing the Engine, and all his dedication to serving the community.
(From bottom, left to right) Woody Nelson, Joe Monahan, Rich Cunningham, Bill Kline, William Kline Keith Dorris, Jim Reily, Charlie Hackett, Harry Wicks, Bill Storck, Ed Jones, Blair Drummon, Whitey Kaye, Harry English, Joe Quigley, John Charleton, Jim Hare, Alex Meloni and Victor Bernacki. Shown here in the dedication to Jim Hare and housing of Engine 23-2.
(From bottom, left to right) Genine Bernacki, Roberta Kaye, Nancy Kline, Eileen Monahan Kathy Drummond, Donna Orr, Mrs. William Kline, Susan Cunningham, Bee Metzler, May Hare, Betty Hackett, and Rose Meloni. The Collings Lakes Vol. Fire Co. No. 1's Ladies Auxiliary during the housing of Engine 23-2.
From bottom, Left to right) Danny Linney, Keith Dorris, Art Wicks, Woody Nelson, Victor Bernacki and Ed Jones. Ed is holding a trophy won in a parade in Folsom.
(From bottom, Left to right) Frank Fuginetti Sr., Bob Gonzales, Alex Meloni, Frank Trendler, Bill Storck and Joe Savage.
(From bottom, Left to right) George Polack, Bob Knorr, Frank Trendler, Frank Fuginetti Sr., Alex Meloni, Gus Ruckle, Tom Murphy and Blair Drummond.
On April 14, 2003 By Resolution passed by The Buena Vista Township Committee and signed by Mayor Chuck Chiarello The Collings Lake Ambulance Squad became members of The Collings Lakes Vol. Fire Dept. bringing with them all their equpment and their two ambulances 23-8 and 23-9.