Things looked a little gloomy early in the morning as rain fell while the judges were going over the visiting fire apparatus and rescue squad rigs trying to decide who will win a trophy. But mother nature was very cooperative, the rain stopped which provided for some nice cool weather for the rest of the day.
The day’s events started off at 12:30 PM with a parade that lasted over an hour and a half. The mile and a quarter parade route started on Halstead Street, winding throughout town onto Main Street, ending at Hunts Mill Park on Haver Farm Road. The park is where the festivities continued with food, drinks, and music played by a DJ. The park activities culminated with the awarding of trophies for the fire apparatus, rescue squad vehicles, and marching units that took part in the parade.
Anniversary co-chairs, Michael Clancy, CFD and Becky Setnicky, CFARS took to the center stage on the corner of Main Street and Leigh Avenue to welcome the hundreds of town residents and visitors that lined the parade route as the Chief of Police R. Brett Matheis started things off by leading the parade down Main Street. He was followed by the two Grand Marshalls of the parade, Rose Milligan served as the rescue squad's Grand Marshall and William “Bill” Wintermute served as the Grand Marshall for the fire company. Rose has been a member of the squad since 1977, holding almost every office in both the operations and administrative side. While Bill has held every position in the department, including Chief, joining the Department in 1966. But just because they both have served in the top slots in their organizations has not stopped them, currently Bill serves as the Department’s Treasurer and Rose handles the Squad’s mail logistics.
Both Grand Marshalls were riding upfront on Lulubelle, a 1926 American LaFrance pumper which was CFD's first mechanized engine. Clinton’s Color Guard followed closely behind Lulubelle, the Guard was made up of members from both organizations, who escorted Fire Chief Walter Dorf and EMS Chief Frank Setnicky as they led their members who were proudly marching up Main Street, followed by all the town’s emergency service vehicles and equipment.
The Clinton Fire Department began as Clinton Steam Engine Company No. 1 in March of 1892, as a result of a catastrophic fire the year before. The Fire Department’s fleet now consists of Tower 45, a 2007 American LaFrance 100' Midmount Platform, equipped with a 2000gpm pump, and carries 300 gallons of water; Engine 45-1, a 2001 American LaFrance, equipped with a 2250gpm pump, and carries 800 gallons of water; Engine 45-2, a 2015 Pierce, equipped with 2,000gpm pump, and carries 1,000 gallons of water; Special Service 45; Car 45-1, a Ford Expedition; and Car 45-2, a 2017 Ford Pick-up.
The Clinton First Aid & Rescue Squad opened their doors on Aug. 1, 1968 with two used ambulances and answered at 260 calls the first year. Two of Clinton Rescue Squad’s founding members, Clark Allen and Robert Ballantine, were on hand and given a special tribute during the parade and award ceremonies.
Now, fifty years later, CFARS has 148 members and responds to over 3,400 calls for service a year in the Town of Clinton and surrounds communities. Their fleet is made up of six ambulances, a heavy rescue truck, a water rescue support truck with four rescue boats, a REHAB Medical Support truck for fire calls, an off-road all-terrain MSU ambulance, an Incident Support trailer, a Technical Rescue Trailer, a Command Vehicle.
This event is just another demonstration of how these two volunteer based organizations have not only worked side by side, but together over the years. They don’t show their collaboration by just working together at fire scenes, motor vehicle crashes, and other emergencies, but many of the volunteers are or have been members of both outfits. This brings out a special type of comradery that is not experienced in a lot of emergency service groups.
While the members of CFD and CFARS relaxed and enjoyed the day’s activities and celebrations, emergency services were still their first priority. So that they did not have to “leave the party” neighboring squads and departments pitched in to provide a helping hand. Covering EMS calls were members from Hampton Rescue Squad 13, Flemington-Raritan Rescue Squad 49, Somerville Rescue Squad, and Whitehouse Rescue Squad 22. While on the fire side Whitehouse Fire Station 22 answered four alarms during the parade, and Lebanon Fire Station 18 with Mansfield Fire Station 28 handled one alarm.
Trophies were awarded for a variety of categories to fire apparatus, rescue squad vehicles, and marching units that take part in the parade, following is a list of the categories and their winners. State Senator Michael Doherty and State Assemblyman Erik Peterson started off the award presentations by giving the Fire Department and Rescue Squad a joint resolution issued by both the Senate and Assembly of New Jersey recognizing the outstanding work by both organizations and congratulating them on their milestone anniversaries.
Special notice is given to Boonton Fire Department from Morris County, they took home a total of eight trophies, including the Mayors Trophy for Best Overall.
Best Appearing Pumper 0 to 10 years old:
1st Place Bound Brook Engine 233
2nd Place Hillsboro Engine 36
Best Appearing Pumper 11 to 20 years old:
1st Place Peapack/Gladstone Engine 233
2nd Place Bound Brook Engine 323
Best Appearing Ladder;
1st Place Boonton Ladder 1-301
2nd Place High Bridge Ladder 14
Best Appearing Tower Ladder:
1st Place South Plainfield Fire Dept. Truck 7
2nd Place City of Lambertville Tower 17
Best Appearing Tender less than 2500 Gallons
1st Place Port Murray Engine 28-71
Best Appearing Tender Over 2500 Gallons:
1st Place Morganville 28-3-96
2nd Place Readington T32
Best Appearing Brush Truck
1st Place Lebanon Fire Co #1 Brush 18
2nd Place Franklin Twp. (Warren County) 57-81
Best Appearing Motorized Fire Apparatus 20 to 50 Years Old:
1st Place Lake Harmony (PA) Engine 17-11
2nd Place Hilltop Fire Co #2
Best Appearing Motorized Fire Apparatus 51 Years or Old:
1st Place Milford 1935 American LaFrance
2nd Place Franklin Twp. (Warren County) 1952 Great Eastern
Best Appearing Ambulance less than 1 year old:
1st Place Phillipsburg 94-51
2nd Place Peapack/Gladstone 51 BLS
Best Appearing Ambulance 2 to 10 years old:
1st Place Quakertown
2nd Place Branchburg
Best Appearing Heavy Rescue, fire or ems:
1st Place Boonton 302
2nd Place Branchburg 74-R1
Best Appearing Rescue Unit:
1st Place Quakertown Squad 91
2nd Place Phillipsburg 94-56
Best Appearing Command Unit, fire or ems:
1st Place Bound Brook Car 23
2nd Place High Bridge 14-85
Best Appearing Non-Motorized Antique:
1st Place Boonton Mayfield 1915 Steamer
2nd Place Boonton 1892 Hand Cart
Best Appearing Fire Dept. 25 Members or Over:
1st Place Boonton Fire Dept.
2nd Place Annandale Hose Co
Best Appearing Fire Dept. 25 Members or Under:
1st Place Lebanon Fire
2nd Place Califon Fire
Commissioners Best Appearing EMS
Flemington-Raritan rescue Squad
Judge’s Trophy – Non-Categorized:
1st Place City of Lambertville Special Services 17
2nd Place World War II Jeeps
Fire Commissioners Award – Best Appearing Fire Apparatus:
Bound Brook Fire Dept.
Mayor’s Trophy – Best Overall
Boonton Fire Dept.
Best Appearing Theme Float:
Franklin Twp. Cub Scouts Pack 108
Best Appearing Color Guard:
Boonton Fire Dept.
Best Appearing Unit with Music:
Boonton Fire Dept.
Best Appearing High School Band:
1st Place Hunterdon North High School
2nd Place Annandale High School
By RICHARD MAXWELL Correspondent
1st Responder Network