History Of The Winslow Township Fire Department
The Winslow Township Fire District was a dream of the local firefighters for many years. After much planning, the township voters were asked to vote on a referendum to establish a fire district that would be comprised of the boundaries of the Township of Winslow. Until that time, the township residents were provided with fire coverage by nine individual stations–Station 1: Winslow; Station 2: West Atco; Station 3: Cedar Brook; Station 4: Tansboro; Station 5: Florance; Station 6: Albion; Station 7: Sicklerville; Station 8: Waterford; and Station 9: Elm.The Commissioners of the Fire District were given the powers, duties, and functions within said district to the same extent as in the case of municipalities relating to the prevention or extinguishment of fires and the regulation of fire hazards as set out in N.J.S.A. 40A:14-81. The Fire District Fire Commissioners would be elected pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-70 et seq.
The first Board of Fire Commissioners was elected in 1989 with the responsibility of establishing the foundation of the Winslow Township Fire District No. 1. Elected and given that responsibility were Frank Hendron, Frank Italiano, Robert Maschke, Richard Miles, and Richard Ostermuller. Commissioner Maschke served in that position from his election in 1989 until he stepped down from the position in 2005.
Since its creation, the district has undergone many changes. The biggest so far was the unification of the seven stations into one department.
November 11, 2003 was a historic day for the Winslow Township Fire Department as the Board of Fire Commissioner named Michael A. Saraceni as the first Chief of the combined fire department. The first Deputy Chief of the department was Michael Scardino.
On August 23, 2006, the Commissioners hired the first two career Firefighters when Frank Friend and Marc Rigberg were hired and promoted to the position of Captain. The Commissioners then voted to hire four new career firefighters for the department. Hired were Ted Idell, Victor Farinelli, Greg Jones, and Charles Mixner. This new group of professionals, following extensive training at the WTFD Academy, became the first fulltime Firefighters in the township. The new Firefighters were hired to fill the void during the 6 AM and 6 PM when most of the volunteers were at work. The original crew operated out of Station 3 because it was the central point in the township.
Today, lead by Fire Chief Marc Rigberg, the Winslow Township Fire Department supplements its volunteer ranks with 21 career firefighters. Three platoons of them work 24 hour shifts and is stationed in Sicklerville and the fourth platoon works during the week from 6am-6pm stationed in our Waterford location. Our Duty Crew program is ran from 1800 hours-24 hours by volunteers Monday through Friday and on weekends 1200-0000 hours, providing 12 hours of coverage as well.
In addition to fighting fires and performing rescues, the department members volunteer each year during Fire Prevention Week to provide the township residents with a fire prevention day program second to none. The yearly event now in conjunction with the Township of Winslow’s Halloween Festival is held at Miller’s Farm. This is a family day that provides demonstrations on vehicle extrication, kitchen safety, face painting, raffles, hay rides, and hands-on demonstrations for our community’s younger residents. Many state and county fire fighting organizations also participate in the event. Everyone attending leaves a bit more knowledgeable on fire safety as well as a bit more full thanks to the complimentary refreshments.
As our community grows, so will our Fire Department thanks to the many volunteers and professionals who answer the call 24/7.