1903 Chief Rockcliffe with Hose Cart

The Evolution of the Garwood Fire Department and Liberty Hose Co. #1

The Fire Department was organized in 1903 as the Garwood Volunteer Fire Department under the direction of George Rockcliffe, acting as Chief. There were 20 men, one horse cart, and 500 feet of hose. The first fire alarm consisted of the rim of a locomotive wheel suspended on the rear of the firehouse and rung by banging it with a sledgehammer. Due to the misbehaving of some youngsters, difficulty in locating the hammer was occasionally the cause of some delay in sounding this "alarm". The fire apparatus was stored in a lean-to that had been erected alongside the building then used as Borough Hall. It was a very crude affair and very far removed from the present Fire Company we know today. In spite of these disadvantages, the Company did good work, with members who served without pay. The Department was reorganized and incorporated as Liberty Hose Company No. 1, with Fred Dushanek as Chief in 1905.

At present, there are approximately 50 men and women who protect the Borough and perform various other tasks and duties, including lending mutual aid to the surrounding municipalities. The F.D. is professionally trained in fire suppression, fire prevention, hazardous materials, rescue and more. The members of the Garwood Fire Department use sophisticated equipment to protect and serve the public. They also volunteer their time to educate children, host community functions, and maintain the firehouse and its equipment. They are always ready to serve, no matter what the call of duty.

FD members commonly serve for many years, some as long as 50+ years. The original men who came together to provide fire protection for the Borough would be honored and proud of the accomplishments of the Department today.

During the events of 9/11, the Garwood Fire Department was called to duty by mutual aid to assist the Staten Island Fire Department, who was called to duty at ground zero. The members worked countless hours, taking time from their lives to assist throughout the crisis. The dedication of the FD is significantly impressive.

Over the last century, the men and women of the Fire Department have earned the respect and admiration that they receive today. They are professionals dedicated to serving and protecting the community and its people.

Garwood Fire Department Historic Photos

c. 1928 Garwood Fire Department

c. 1947 Garwood Fire Department

c. 1947 Garwood Fire Department