Firefighters Fix Up Their House
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 • 1:36pm
OGDENSBURG, NJ– Fighting fires is not the only volunteer work the Ogdensburg firefighters do.
They have to keep their house in order. Thanks to the hard work of the Ogdensburg Fire Department, the Fire House is kept in tip-top shape.
Fire Chief Rick Keslo explained that they needed to upgrade their facilities to include a wheelchair accessible entrance and bathroom, and decided to build additional storage space while they were at it.
“Lakeland Bank came through with a loan, and we are doing all the work ourselves,” explained Keslo.
This was the magic combination required to get started. Keslo said many vendors were helping them out, including Kuiken Brothers, Sparta Sand and Gravel, and Timplex. Among the firefighters are plumbers, electricians and masons.
“We have the people, we do it all ourselves,” he continued.
Eric Slater is the chairman running the addition.
“There have been so many volunteers, too many to mention,” he commented. “We hold fundraisers, barbeques, breakfasts, rent out the hall, and provide catering for events. There is a Weight Watchers group which meets here all day, every Wednesday, they are working out great.”
Originally incorporated in 1918, the original Fire House is now a museum, located in the Ogdensburg School parking lot, on Passaic Street. That building was originally an annex to the school itself, and was rolled across the parking lot on logs. In 1971, fundraisers capitalized a building fund for their current building. Sandenberg Builders, a large contracting firm that built most of Lake Mohawk, was hired to build the current Firehouse.
“The town gave us the property, and we built the firehouse. Whatever we did ourselves, Sandenberg took off the bill,” recalled Bill Bodle.
The total cost was $71,000.
“We held a lot of steak dinners," Bodle added.
Bodle, Dave Dolan, (grandson of William C. Dolan, Ogdensburg’s first chief), Bob Devine, Dan Scheuer, Rich Keslo, (whose son Rick is current Fire Chief), and Bob Lawler are current members who helped with the construction in 1972. Joe Concoy was chief at the time it was built. This team, along with other members, were very resourceful when it came to obtaining materials.
“We went up to the old Edison mine," Bodle said. "We took the rock from the foundations of the old houses and used them to build the fireplace in the bar. We found some old beams, perfectly good, up there. Jake Mora had a farm next to what is now Rt. 517 Transmissions. We tore down his barn, the guy wanted it down, told us to burn it or use it, whatever we wanted. We used the beams and barn board to line the bar. Some of those beams were 18-inches thick.”
The Borough of Ogdensburg owns the trucks and pays the utilities, but the fire department owns the building and part of the parking lot. Currently, there are two engines and a utility vehicle. The fire department also owns the two antique trucks, a 1935 and a 1959 truck, housed in the museum, both of which served Ogdensburg from when they were new until they were retired. These are still used during parades.
The Fire House has a 175 person capacity for events. If you would like to rent the hall, please contact Dennis Wottle, Deputy Chief 973-827-3450.