Fire Company History
The Tri-County Volunteer Fire Company was founded by 26 men on April 15, 1950, and offically became a non-profit organization on June 7, 1950, with the first meeting occuring at the Riverview Tavern on Route 24. The name "Tri-County" derives from the fact that the fire company originally covered portions of Warren, Morris, and Hunterdon Counties.
The first major piece of equipment purchased from the fire company was a 1924 Brockway pumper, a sufficient quantity of hose, and other necessary firefighting equipment. Shortly after, Tri-County's first firehouse was constructed and completed in 1954. Until the firehouse was completed, equipment was stored in a barn off of Stephensburg Rd. As the years went by, the fire company experienced more and more fires and was decided more equipment, as well as expanding the firehouse, was needed. A 1957 International was purchased, and expansion began which included three truck bays, a Chief's office, and a modern kitchen.
In 1987, the fire company joined the New Jersey State Relief Association, where assistance is given to firefighters and their families in case of injury, illness, and death. November 1990 marked the installation of the first female firefighters: Christine Lewis and JoAnn Griffith.
As the fire company continued to expand, it was decided a new firehouse was needed, as fire trucks were getting too big for the old firehouse. Discussions with Morton Buildings started in February 1995 and the current firehouse was completed in September 1996. Morton constructed the exterior, while Tri-County's members and other volunteers constructed the interior. A great deal of thanks was made to all who contributed to the construction of the new firehouse.
The current Engine 29-62, a 1965 Maxim pumper, was purchased in 1988 from the White Horse Fire Company at a cost of $10,000. The truck served Tri-County for almost a decade and a half before its retirement in 2004. 29-62 currently serves as a parade and special events apparatus.
The current Engine 29-61, a 1994 New Lexington/Spartan pumper, was purchased in 1993 at a cost of $150,000. This truck, along with Port Murray's former 28-61 (now in service at Butler Park Fire Company's 27-67), were the first vehicles purchased by the Township of Mansfield for its fire companies. The new pumper arrived in December 1994 and has been in service ever since.
In 1998, Tri-County began a junior firefighter program. This allowed 16 and 17 year-olds to join the fire company and get a head start on learning the basics of becoming a firefighter. Upon the junior member's 18th birthday, he/she will be eligible to become a full acttive member and attend the Firefighter I program. John M. Casella became Tri-County's first junior member, and many more followed thereafter.
2002 marked when Tri-County expanded into a fire/rescue company, after Mansfield Emergency Medical Services transferred all their rescue equipment, including their rescue truck, to the fire company. Members began training in vehicle extrication, water rescue, and trench rescue. In 2004, Mansfield's rescue truck was replaced by a 2004 Hackney/Spartan. Besides carrying rescue equipment, this truck, the current Rescue 29-75, also includes a cascade system to fill firefighter's air bottles, and also serves as command unit for the Mansfield Township Office of Emergency Management.
2006 marked the delivery of Tri-County's first Seagrave apparatus, a 2006 Marauder II, designated Engine 29-63. With this purchase, Tri-County holds the distinction of receiving the first Marauder II east of the Mississippi River and the first Marauder II with a 14-inch raised roof.
In 2008, the fire company purchased a new 2006 Dodge Durango that was outfitted into a mobile command unit for the Chief and Assistant Chief. Command 29-85 includes a roll-out table for monitoring fire and EMS units and personnel, and is equipped with radios for Warren, Morris, and Hunterdon Counties.