Cologne’s History Was Started in the Late 50′s
The Cologne Vol. Fire Department was started in the December of 1958. The first meeting was held in Herman Leipe Jr.’s cellar. We became incorporated in 1960 and shortly thereafter, our first firefighters began construction of our Firehouse.
The land upon which the station sits was donated by the Leipe family and Harry Schaab. Before the building was completed, the men who dreamed and worked hard for this company were already having drills with the Laureldale Vol. Fire Co. At that time, the Chief of Laureldale was Charlie Skinner and Asst. Chief was Bob Skinner.
Our first piece of apparatus was a red and white Chevy that was donated to us by the Laureldale Vol. Fire Co.. We also had a Model A Ford donated to us by Bill Bergots from Egg Harbor City, NJ. At the time, we could not afford any apparatus or equipment and depended mostly on donations. A Chevy oil truck arrived there afterwards that was bought from Sutton Oil Co. in Pleasantville, NJ. With the help of John Lieb and Lenny “Unc” Lieb, we were able to transform the oil truck into a water tanker.
Past and Present
In the past, fire trucks were designed for one thing only, Carrying the supplies and Firefighters to put out a fire. You had no such things as fire hydrants around here. Firefighters had to usually draft from local ponds and lakes to get their water. You were able to ride on the back bumper and hang on. There were no such thing as fighting a fire with foam, or pagers that activated when you were needed. Firefighters wore blue jeans and T-shirts and used bandanas to cover their face. Haz-Mat situations weren’t treated like they are today and no one would have ever thought of using computers or something called a thermal imaging camera that would allow you to see people and objects in a fire. Today, fire trucks are designed with safety in mind when building apparatus from seat belts to enclosed cabs. No more riding on the back of a fire truck and now you can pretty much find a hydrant anywhere. Today firefighters have full gear, breathing apparatus, and something called PASS devices that will alert other firefighters if you are down in a building. Today technologies are growing more and more each day and with the help of donations, we are able to keep up with the changes to assure quicker, safer and better responses to help our community.