North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue

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North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue Department(NHRFR)
Agency Overview
Established 1999
Employees 279
Staffing Career
Fire chief Frank Montagne
Facilities & Equipment
Battalions 3
Stations 14
Engines 6
Trucks 4
Squads 4
Rescues 2 (1)& (USAR 1)
Fireboats 2

North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue (NHRFR) provides fire protection and medical assistance to the North Hudson communities of North Bergen, Union City, Weehawken, West New York, and Guttenburg, New Jersey.[1] The fire department serves a population of over 195,000 people.

Its members numbered 76 when it opened in 1999, but was 51 as of June 2010. According to North Hudson Regional Firefighters Association President Dominick Marino, this is enough to respond to one fire in North Hudson at a time,[2] but asserted that numerous promotions that month, and the closing of Ladder 2 a week later would hurt response time. As of July 2010, the department's total compliment numbers 273, including firefighters, officers and staff, and its firehouses numbered 15.[3]

In July 2010, NHRFR chaiperson and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner boasted that NHRFR's response time is under two minutes, compared to the national standard of five minutes.[3]

Its operations are overseen by Directors Michael DeOrio and Jeffery Welz. The current Fire Chief is Frank Montagne.[4]

History[edit]

North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue's Fire Headquarters, located in West New York.
NHRFR Squad 2 operating at a fire in Union City

Discussions to consolidate the North Hudson fire departments began in the early 1980s.[5]

The North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue (NHRFR) was established on January 11, 1999. The former fire departments of North Bergen, Union City, Weehawken, West New York, and Guttenburg were merged to provide a safer, more efficient fire department.[6][7] The department is divided into three battalions, which comprise a fire apparatus fleet of six engines, four ladders, four squads, one rescue, and one fire boat, that operate out of 15 fire stations, located throughout the five communities. Three of these companies are only manned from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily.

The agency created a new headquarters on Port Imperial Boulevard in West New York in 2007 to serve the waterfront area.[2][8]

North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue was among the many Hudson County agencies that responded to the January 2009 crash of Flight 1549, for which they received accolades from the survivors.[9][10]

In July 2009, North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue began closing their Rescue Company and the rotational closings of three engine companies. The following January, two buildings adjacent to Engine Company 9 burned down while the company was closed.[11]

Fox 5 News reporter Lisa Evers reporting on a January 2012 Union City fire to which the NHRFR responded.

The organization opened a two-story firehouse in June 2010 at 4300 Kennedy Boulevard, purchased for $1.2 million, and renovated for $1.5 million, in part with a $500,000 federal grant. The building will house Engine Company 5, formerly housed in a building a block away that Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack described as "antiquated", as well as Rescue Company 1. Stack further stated that the Kennedy Boulevard location, which is actually located off Kennedy Boulevard, would give the firefighters easier access to the area, as Kennedy Boulevard is a four-lane road that runs through the entire county, whereas the previous location was situated in the middle of a block. The agency's dispatch center, which was formed 30 years previously, also moved to a new state-of-the-art facility at the new location, as the equipment at its former, less spacious location at 50th Street and Broadway was deemed outdated.[2]

The agency rotated the closing of various firehouses for certain hours in order to save money until July 2010, when it closed two of its firehouses, according to NHRFR chairperson and Weehawken Mayor Richard F. Turner, in order to allow the remaining 16 to stay open 24 hours, and save $500,000 in overtime costs from July 1 until the end of 2010. Turner further disclosed that the newly implemented Strategic Reorganization Plan, which took two years to create, would also save additional funds. Though Turner insisted that this would not affect performance, Dominick Marino, the head of the North Hudson Firefighters Association, reacted to the closings by stating that this would sacrifice response time from certain locations, and that with the closing of Ladder 2, the agency would not have enough firefighters. According to Marino, "Evidence shows that [a ladder and engine] responding at the same time eliminates the circumstances a lot quicker than having to wait." Marino further asserted that the closing of Engine 6 would mean that the entire west area of North Bergen would lose coverage, and that the promotion of 22 people to higher ranks in the last week of June, including 14 captains, five battalion chiefs and two deputies, meant that there was insufficient personnel to keep the houses open. Turner stated that hiring would be considered, based on upcoming retirements.[3] Turner later stated the intention to hire new members in early 2011.[12]

The agency's 2010 budget, which was passed on August 17, 2010, is $55.9 million, a 3% increase from the previous year's budget of $54.2 million, with the largest increase in health benefits, which are covered by Horizon Blue Cross. (The NHRFR was previously covered by Cigna.) The August 17 meeting also saw the passing of a resolution allowing the agency to pay contractual terminal benefits, or retirement packages, to firefighters over the course of the five years following their retirement, instead of entirely within the year of their retirement. This resolution followed the passing a New Jersey state law (N.J.S.A.40A:4-53) that NHRFR officials indicated supersedes contractual obligations with unions.[12]

On December 12, 2011, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the squad's hiring policy discriminated against African-Americans, because it only accepted residents of local towns, who are predominantly Latino and Caucasian. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2007 by the Newark branch of the NAACP on behalf of three black firefighters, was the latest development in a longstanding controversy over whether the NHRFR should hire applicants from outside towns.[13]

In July 2014, the NHRFR launched Marine 1, a new fireboat obtained through a 2010 $1.2 million port security grant. Marine 1 was specially designed by Chief Frank Montagne for the areas served by the NHRFR, which include buildings and walkways situated very close to the edge of the Hudson River. Manufactured by Metal Craft Marine in Ontario, Canada, Marine 1 can operate in less than two feet of water, and carries four hose guns capable of supplying 4,250 gallons of water per minute and 100 gallons of firefighting foam for combustible liquid fire. It is also equipped with infrared cameras and night vision googles. It joins a smaller, 27-foot-long quick response boat that was also acquired through a grant two years earlier. Both boats are docked at Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken.[14]

Operations[edit]

Fire Station locations and apparatus[edit]

Squad 1's quarters in West New York
Engine 4 and Deputy 1's quarters in Union City
Ladder 5's quarters on Kennedy Boulevard, North Bergen

Below is a list of all currently active Fire Stations and Apparatus in the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue Department according to Battalion.[15][16]

Battalions 1, 2 and 3[edit]

Engine Company Ladder Company Squad Company Special Unit Chief Battalion Address Neighborhood
Engine 1 1 917 Paterson Plank Rd. North Bergen
Engine 3 Marine 1 Marine 2 1 1900 Willow Ave. Weehawken
Engine 4 Deputy 1 1 541 29th St. Union City
Engine 5 Rescue 1, Rescue 2 (Special Operations) Battalion 2 2 John F. Kennedy Blvd. W. & 43rd St. Union City/North Bergen
Engine 9* Battalion 3 3 6237 John F. Kennedy Blvd W. North Bergen
Engine 13 3 7507 Hudson Ave. North Bergen
Squad 1 2 4911 Broadway West New York
Ladder 1 Squad 2 R.A.C. 1 Battalion 1 1 1600 New York Ave. Union City
Squad 7 Decon. Unit, Field Comm. 1, Support Trailer 2 11 Port Imperial Blvd. West New York
Squad 10 3 6510 Hudson Ave. West New York
Ladder 3** 2 4610 Park Ave. Weehawken
Ladder 4 3 428 60th St. West New York
Ladder 5 3 8311 Kennedy Blvd. North Bergen
Safety/M.S.U. 1 3 6801 Madison St. Guttenberg

Apparatus specifications[edit]

Below is a complete list of all NHRFR apparatus, their manufacturer and specifications, and date.

Engine companies[edit]

  • Engine 1 - 2012 Pierce Impel 1500gpm./500gal. Pumper Truck
  • Engine 3* - 1992 Pierce Dash 1500gpm./750gal. Pumper Truck (Ex-Engine 13, North Bergen FD Engine 4)
  • Engine 4* - 1995 Seagrave 1250gpm./500gal. Pumper Truck (Ex-Weehawken FD Engine 203)
  • Engine 5 - 2008 Pierce Impel 1500gpm./500gal. Pumper Truck
  • Engine 9* - 1991 Pierce Dash 1500gpm./750gal. Pumper Truck (Ex-North Bergen FD Engine 1)
  • Engine 13* - 1988 Spartan/Grumman 1250gpm./500gal./50gal. Foam/50' Telesqurt Pumper Truck (Ex-Squad 7, Squad 6, Engine 11).
  • Engine 15(Reserve) - 1986 Mack CF/Ward 79 1500gpm./500gal. Pumper Truck
  • Engine 16(Reserve) - 1984 Mack MC 1500gpm./600gal. Pumper Truck (Ex-Squad 7)
  • Engine 17(Reserve) - 1989 Mack CF/Ward 79 1500gpm./500gal. Pumper Truck (Ex-Union City FD Engine 5)
  • Engine 18(Reserve) - E-ONE *Unknown year*

(*) Two 2014 Pierce Impel Pumper Trucks on order to replace Engine's 3, 4, 9, or 13.

Ladder companies[edit]

  • Ladder 1 - 2008 Pierce Arrow XT 100' Rear-Mount Aerial Ladder Truck
  • Ladder 2(Reserve) - 2005 Pierce Dash 100' Tractor-Drawn Aerial Ladder Truck
  • Ladder 3* - 1995 Seagrave 100' Rear-Mount Aerial Ladder Truck (Ex-Weehawken FD Ladder 222)
  • Ladder 4 - 2002 Pierce Dash 100' Tractor-Drawn Aerial Ladder Truck
  • Ladder 5 - 2005 Pierce Dash 100' Tractor-Drawn Aerial Ladder Truck
  • Ladder 6(Reserve) - 1973 Seagrave 100' Tractor-Drawn Aerial Ladder Truck (Ex-Union City FD Truck 2)
  • Ladder 7(Reserve) - 1990 Seagrave 1250gpm./300gal./100' Rear-Mount Aerial Ladder Quint (Ex-Weehawken FD Ladder 221)
  • Ladder 8(Reserve) - 1980 Seagrave 100' Rear-Mount Aerial Ladder Truck (Ex-Guttenberg FD Truck 2)

(*) A 2014 Tower Ladder is on order to replace Ladder 3.

Squad companies[edit]

  • Squad 1 - 2005 Pierce Enforcer 1500gpm./500gal. Rescue Pumper Truck
  • Squad 2 - 2005 Pierce Enforcer 1500gpm./500gal. Rescue Pumper Truck
  • Squad 7 - 2008 Pierce Impel 1750gpm./500gal./42' Skyboom Pumper Truck (Ex-Squad 6)
  • Squad 10 - 2012 Pierce Saber 1750gpm./500gal. Rescue Pumper Truck
  • Squad 20(Reserve) - 1993 Emergency-One 1500gpm./750gal. Rescue Pumper Truck (Ex-Squad 7, Squad 10, Squad 1, Engine 8)

Special Units[edit]

  • Rescue 1 - 2002 Pierce Enforcer Heavy-Duty Non-Walk-Around Rescue Squad Truck
  • Rescue 2(Special Operations) - 2006 Spartan/Rescue One Heavy-Duty Non-Walk-Around Special Operations Rescue Truck
  • Safety/M.S.U. 1 - 2013 GMC/Cliffside Body Air Mask Service Truck
  • Safety/M.S.U. 2(Reserve) - 1993 Ford C/Cliffside Body Air Mask Service Truck
  • Field Comm. 1 - 2010 International/Pierce Walk-Around Mobile Command Center Truck
  • Marine 2 - 2011 Boston Whaler 27' 750gpm. Fire Rescue Boat

Closed fire stations/companies[edit]

Below is a list of all closed or former fire stations and closed fire companies.

  • Engine 5 - 419 43rd Street in Union City (Engine 5 moved to Kennedy Boulevard and 43rd Street in 2010 and is still in service. Their former quarters is now closed.[3])
  • Squad 6 - 1814 43rd Street in North Bergen (Squad 6 disbanded in 2010. Their quarters is now closed.[3])
  • Engine 7 - 303 47th Street in Union City (Engine 7 disbanded in 1999. Their quarters is now closed.)
  • Engine 11 - 580 66th Street in West New York (Engine 11 disbanded in 2010. Their quarters is now being used by the West New York Emergency Medical Services.[3])
  • Engine 12 - Closed to form Squad 7.
  • Engine 14 - Kennedy Boulevard and 61st Street in West New York (Engine 14 disbanded in 1999. Their quarters has been closed since then.)
  • Ladder 2 - 541 29th Street in Union City (Ladder 2 disbanded in 2010. Their quarters remains occupied by Engine 4 and Deputy 1.[3])
  • Safety 1 - 133 Jane Street in Weehawken (Safety 1 moved to 6801 Madison Street in Guttenberg and is still in service. Their former quarters is now closed.[3])

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About Us". North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue. Retrieved December 1, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Tirella, Tricia (June 13, 2010). "New firehouse for regional squad" The Union City Reporter. pp. 3 and 7.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Tirella, Tricia (July 4, 2010). "North Hudson FD closes two firehouses", The Union City Reporter. pp. 3 and 15
  4. ^ Pope, Gennarose (April 1, 2012). "North Hudson Region Fire swears in new chief; promotes seven captains". The Union City Reporter. pp. 3 and 8.
  5. ^ "New Jersey Journal". The New York Times. April 12, 1981. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  6. ^ North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue History page Accessed January 14, 2009
  7. ^ Smothers, Ronald (January 12, 1999). "Regional Fire Service Succeeds in Its First Test". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  8. ^ North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue at Firefighting News; Accessed June 16, 2010
  9. ^ "Miracle on the Hudson' survivors to return to waterfront", The Union City Reporter, July 26, 2009, Page 4
  10. ^ Tricia Tirella. "A pat on the back" The Union City Reporter; Pages 5 & 17
  11. ^ Hack, Charles. "North Bergen fire ruins two buildings two doors down from closed firehouse" Jersey Journal/NJ.com; January 18, 2010
  12. ^ a b Tirella, Tricia (September 5, 2010). "Regional fire dept. budget up 3 percent". The Union City Reporter. pp. 5 and 7.
  13. ^ "Briefs". The Union City Reporter. December 18, 2011. pp. 2 and 5.
  14. ^ Schwartz, Art (July 27, 2014). "River patrol". The Union City Reporter. pp. 1, 8 and 9.
  15. ^ "Locations". North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
  16. ^ Battalion 1: Gallery. North Hudson Firefighters Association. Retrieved June 29, 2012.

External links[edit]