Aberdeen Township Hose & Chemical Company № 1 Inc.
The recognition of the need for fire protection in this area goes back many years. In 1836 an attempt was made to organize the Franklin Engine Co. of Middletown Point (now Matawan). This apparently never got off the ground. It took over 30 years before another serious attempt in organizing a fire company was made.
In 1869, the Washington Engine Company № 1 of Matawan Township was organized. At that time Matawan Borough was still a part of the township, and the company’s jurisdiction included the entire township. However on February 14, 1872, Washington’s charter was amended limiting their jurisdiction to what is now downtown Matawan. This left the remainder of the Township unprotected. For a while residents were left on their own for fire protection. Eventually, arrangements were made that the Matawan Borough Fire Department respond to calls in the township, with the township contributing to the upkeep of the Borough Dept. This proved not to be the best arrangement when in 1913, the Township Committee refused to pay a bill of $9.00 for “expenses incurred for responding to township fires”: At that time the Borough Fire Chief reminded the public that the Borough Fire Department was “under no obligation in any way whatsoever” to answer township fire calls.
In the summer of 1918, citizens of Oak Shades, in the central part of the township got together to discuss fire protection. On Tuesday, December 3rd, Thomas E. Kearney called a meeting, at which time the Oak Shades Fire Company was organized.
President: Thomas Furey
Vice President: Thomas Kearney
Secretary: George Whalen
Treasurer: Stephen J. Sullivan
A 25′ x 100′ lot was purchased from Mrs. Holmes N. Stillwell at 37 Lower Main Street and a firehouse was constructed during the winter of 1918-19. The building was 18′ x 36′ wood frame on a concrete foundation.
Due to the lack of township budgets for fire protection, fundraising was a priority. Dances took place, making use of the firehouse’s player piano. Raffles were held, for items including a Ford automobile, a ton of coal, a ring and watch and a $5 gold piece. This need for fundraising still maintains a priority in current time.
October 5th, 1920 was the earliest known use of the name Matawan Township Hose & Chemical Company № 1, although the Oak Shades Fire Company name has continued unofficially to the present day.
The first fire the company fought was on Wednesday, June 15 at the Mosaic Tile Company on Atlantic Avenue, alarm received at 5:45 p. m. Damages sustained were estimated at $50.00. Over the decades, many calls would occur at this very location, until the plant was demolished in the 1990s to make way for the Crossings at Aberdeen residential development.
On December 6, 1928, the Township Committee recognized the following fire companies being under municipal control, thereby allowing for membership in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association for the following fire companies.
Matawan Township Hose & Chemical Company № 1.
Freneau Independent Fire Company № 1
Cliffwood Volunteer Fire Company № 1
On September 27, 1932 the Matawan Township Hose & Chemical Company № 1 Inc. was incorporated through a charter filed with the State of New Jersey. The following members signed the charter.
Samuel J. Della Pietro
Charles A. Ariano
David Joseph Blythe
Thomas E. Kearney
Sabato J. Della Pietro
Thomas J. Falco
Boyd C. Higley
Also in 1962, as part of the approval process of the Strathmore development, a lot at the southeast corner of Lloyd Road and Church Street was designated for future fire station use.
In 1968 the company celebrated our fiftieth anniversary. That year, a second firehouse was constructed on the property at 490 Lloyd Road, at the intersection of Church Street. In 1977 a fourth truck bay was added to the Lloyd Road Firehouse, as well as a training room and kitchen.
Also in 1977 the voters of Matawan Township voted to change the township’s name to Aberdeen Township. The fire company changed its name to Aberdeen Township Hose & Chemical Company № 1 Inc., reflecting the new name of the township.
On July 24,1984, it was decided to consolidate all the apparatus at the Lloyd Road Firehouse, and to put the Lower Main Street Firehouse up for sale. The Lloyd Road Firehouse was to be extended by adding a fifth truck bay, as well as a meeting room on the second floor. On September 23, 1985, after 35 years of use, the Lower Main Street Firehouse was sold to a private business. The new meeting room was first used on January 13, 1987 and is still in use to this day.