Photos of Some of South Jersey Firefighters’ Most Memorable Fires
South Jersey's firefighters are part of a special fraternity of courageous people.
I would like to borrow from an essay about one of America's best-known firefighters, Edward Crocker, written by Timothy Sendelbach.
In the late 1800s, a young man entered the fire service as a private serving on an engine company in our nation’s most populated city. Over the course of his career he would see the department in which he served grow exponentially in size and technological sophistication. What was once an operational workforce powered by horses became fully mechanized and technologically advanced. Yet despite these advancements, fire losses at the time continued to increase. The war on fire was being lost—and so too were many lives.
For 27 years he would serve his department in various ranks and eventually rise to become chief. Throughout his tenure, he would establish the credibility and respect of an accomplished leader. Years later, unbeknownst to him, his name would become one of the most recognizable within our profession and his words would be referenced by firefighters around the world. The man’s name: Edward Franklin Croker, former chief of department for the FDNY (1899–1911).
Likely the most referenced words ever spoken by Chief Croker are these: “I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a firefighter. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the firefighter has to do believe that his is a noble calling.”
It sounds like Chief Crocker was quite a man and a dedicated firefighter.
Special thanks go to the Bargaintown Volunteer Fire Company for taking many of the pictures used here.
Extra special thanks go to all of our local volunteer firefighters, who manage to fit time into a schedule with other jobs and responsibilities to be on call to volunteer to fight fires in their community. They are really local heroes.