In 1929 a discussion arose out of a group meeting for coffee at Tichners Store on Route 46. This discussion centered upon the creation of a fire department in Budd Lake. Edward Brown acquired a Model T Ford and he and Ray E. DeGraw fashioned it into the first fire truck of the Budd Lake Fire Department.
The fire department held its meetings in the basement of Mockler’s Tavern on Route 46. Soon after the fire department’s creation a Baby Grand Chevrolet was purchased and upon its arrival from North Carolina it was utilized as a chemical truck. A garage behind Mockler’s Tavern was rented to house the fire truck. A pot-belly stove was used in the winter to heat the garage in order to prevent the chemicals from freezing. The fire department purchased a ton of coal for $8.00. Members of the fire department who cared for the fire were paid $10.00 per month.
In July 7, 1931 the Fire Department was reorganized with the chairman pro-tem Arthur Brock calling the meeting to order. The officers elected were President Robert Fennimore, Vice President John Kelley, Secretary Roscoe Reimel, and Treasure William Moekler. Incorporation papers were secured under the name Budd Lake Vol. Fire Company No. 1 of Mt. Olive Township. The charter members were Andrew A. Brown, Edward Moelker, Roscoe Reimel, John Hunt, Robert Fennimore, T.J. Romer, Edward Trinner Sr., George Todd Sr., Charles Garneau, Frank Stephany, Robert Wittenberg, John B. Freudenberger, Ray E. DeGraw, Fred Klenke, Lois P. Petrie, Dallas Batson, Leonard D. Sylvester and John Kelley (who was a trustee at the time of the company’s organization and was an honorary active member).
On May 8, 1933 the Township Committee passed an Ordinance setting up the Mt. Olive Township Fire Departments, which consisted of the Budd Lake Vol. Fire Dept. Co. #1 and Flanders Fire Department.
In 1934 it was reported at the February meeting that Williams and Hibler would grant the fire department permission to move into the Municipal Building (which is now the Country Store) providing the fire department pay all expenses. The Police Department and Post Office were also housed in the municipal building. The move was made on April 1, 1934.
Over the years the Fire Department held fund drives, card parties, quoit games and dances at Budds Pavilion in order to raise money to meet expenses. In August 1934 the first annual Minstrel Show was held at the Club Fordham, which later became known as Budds Pavilion. A familiar sight at these yearly shows was George Horne who played the banjo.
In 1935 the Township Committee bought the Fire Department their first pumper, a 1935 Ford with a 500 gpm Barton Centrifugal pump v-40 mounted in front of the truck. This truck was delivered on May 30, 1935. In 1936 the Baby Grand Chevrolet was sold to the Upper Greenwood Lake Fire Department for $50.00.
In 1941 the Township purchased the old Municipal Building from Mr. Peters who owned it as The Casino, a popular night club. The Fire Department was housed there until 1968 when our present firehouse was completed and we took occupancy.
In 1946 a second fire truck (a 1946 International) was purchased by the Township. The Township also purchased an American LaFrance in 1955.
In 1956 the Fire Department held its 25th Anniversary Parade and a week long Fair. The officers for that year were, President Ralph Pfrommer, Vice President David Romaine, Recording Secretary Joseph Begley, Corresponding Secretary Edward S. Sylvester, Treasurer Chester Stephens, Chief John Brown, Second Assistant Chief Clyde DeGraw, Captain Thomas Philhower, First lieutenant Ralph Meyer Jr., Second Lieutenant Elmer VanDemark, and Steward Thomas Gordon.
In 1968 construction on our Route 46 firehouse was completed All of the fire department’s equipment is housed at this location. Our firehouse also contains a large meeting room in which we host a weekly Sunday night Bingo and various dances and fund raising activities. In 1972 construction of an addition to the firehouse was completed. This addition consisted of a lounge for the firefighters to spend time in after meetings, drills, and fires. This construction on the firehouse was mostly performed by the firefighters themselves.
In 1981 the Budd Lake Fire Department celebrated their 50th Anniversary with a well attended parade and picnic. There were 119 fire companies, 74 rescue squads, 259 pieces of apparatus, 23 bands and numerous other units there were 1800 people in the parade. The officers for that year were Chief Robert Katchen, 1st Assistant Chief Charles Brown, 2nd Assistant Chief Neal Nelson, Captain Arthur Deden, 1st Lieutenant William Cirone, 2nd Lieutenant Robert Scholtz, and Engineer Doug Philhower, President Frank Bramwell, Vice President Sonny Aukamp, Treasurer Andy Brown, Recording Secretary Scott Fisher, Corresponding Secretary John Glover. Equipment in use in 1981 by the fire department were, a 1962 American LaFrance 750 gpm pumper, a 1957 1000 Gal. Chevrolet Tanker, a 1980 Mack Custom Quint 100’ Aerial Ladder (still in operation) , a 1970 International Great Eastern 1000 gpm pumper, a 1972 International Mustang Brush Truck, and a 1954 Equipment Van.
In 1987 the firefighters found themselves again building an addition to the firehouse. This addition included two more engine bays a Radio Room, Chief’s Office, engineers work room, a storage room, and a conference room. They also made the 1972 addition of a fireman’s lounge bigger. The two new bays added the room to have one piece of apparatus per bay. Before it required some agile driving to park three large apparatus, a brush truck, and an equipment van in three bays.
In 1994 the picnic pavilion was built in the rear of the firehouse. This 50’ x 80’ pavilion houses 12 picnic tables and two barbecue stoves. There are also two sets of regulation horse shoe pits with lights for night play along side. A play area for the kids was also built and an area for volley ball. This picnic area provides countless times of fun and relaxation for the firefighters and their families. Many landmarks were lost to fire over the years, such as Budd’s Pavilion, Oasis, Merry Go Round, Wigwam, 7 Gables to name a few.
The department operates 1 Chief, 2 Assist Chiefs, 2 Engine Companies, 1 Heavy Rescue Company, 1 Ladder Company, 1 Tender, 1 Support Unit, A Support Trailer and a Rescue Boat. The department currently answers 600 calls for service per year.