It was March 29, 1898, in the old Public School Building on Main Street, that a meeting was
called to order by David Outcalt. The purpose of this meeting was to organize a fire
company to protect Spotswood, which, at that time was part of East Brunswick. The
Borough of Spotswood was not incorporated until 1908. The Enterprise Hook & Ladder
Company of Spotswood was incorporated on May 10, 1898 in order to protect life and
property from fire. At that time thirty two men were elected as members. By August of that
same year the membership had increased to sixty eight men.
The first firehouse in Spotswood was built at a cost of $130 and was located in the rear of
Underhill and Cornell’s store on a piece of property owned by Mr. A. DeVoe. A fire alarm was
donated by the South Amboy Fire Company. The first piece of fire apparatus was purchased
from a Long Branch company on June 6, 1898. The cost was $56 plus $45 for repairs and
On the night of October 31, 1898, the Enterprise Hook & Ladder Company answered its first
‘alarm of fire’. The fire was located in a building owned by George Appleby near “Little Pond”.
The building was of little value and the pumps were not turned on until the fire was well
underway. When the water was turned on, the firemen were gratified to see that the pump
was performing satisfactorily.
The first piece of motorized apparatus, a
1921 Ford Model “T”, was purchased by the
fire company at a cost of $3,346. This
truck has been restored and is our jewel in
parades. In 1925, six rubber coats, six
helmets, and four pairs of boots were the
first pieces of personal protective
equipment were purchased.
Also that year the company bought a Ford
Model “T” Chemical truck for $1,975. At the
same time, pumping stations at the lake
and other streams were being completed in
order to obtain water to extinguish fires.
At the fire company’s annual meeting held on January 24, 1928, William McMulkin offered a
resolution, “that the members of the Enterprise Hook & Ladder Company desire to come
under Borough control.” A second resolution offered by Frank Vliet, “Whereas the members
of the Enterprise Hook & Ladder Company have voted for in favor of Borough control, that
we offer for sale, and will sell to the Borough of Spotswood, New Jersey, the firehouse and
lot situated on Main Street. Also the fire apparatus, consisting of two engines, a pumper,
and a chemical truck will be sold for the sum of one dollar.” This action was taken to permit
the firefighters to join the New Jersey State Firemen’s Relief Association, and also prompted
the company’s name to change to the Spotswood Volunteer Fire Department. Spotswood’s
Relief Association was formed on March 28, 1928 with Arthur D. Appleby serving as Relief
Association was formed on March 28, 1928 with Arthur D. Appleby serving as President.
Fire alarm call boxes were installed within the Borough during 1929 in order to provide a
more effective method of reporting fires; this system became obsolete and fell into a state
of disrepair, and was removed in 1971, by the time most fires were being received by
When a municipal water system was installed
in 1935, it was then possible to install fire
hydrants and mains throughout the Borough,
thus eliminating the need for the old pumping
stations at the lake. The following year a
Diamond “T” pumper, capable of pumping 500
gallons per minute, was added to the fleet.
was purchased for $800. It was in this In
1912 the fire company purchased and
installed a new bell in the tower of the was
purchased for $800. It was in this firehouse.
Today, this bell is a part of the building that a
new firehouse was established. building that a
new firehouse was established. In 1912 the
fire company purchased and installed a new
bell in the tower of the firehouse. Today, this
bell is a part of the Firefighters’ Memorial
located in Triangle Park.
113 years later this property is still the Fire