Township fire department shines in Wildwood

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Pictured from left is Farmington Volunteer Fire Company Assistant Chief Dennis Sharpe, former chief Jim Garth and firefighter Brandon Parker as they hold up their second place trophy for Best Appearing Pumper, 25-50 years old.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – After clinching three awards in the 135th Annual New Jersey State Fireman’s Convention parade, Egg Harbor Township Fire Department was standing proud last week.

The department won first place in the newly created command vehicle category for its entry of the township fire chief’s vehicle, second place for Farmington Volunteer Fire Company’s antique pump truck in the category of Best Appearing Pumper, 25-50 years old, and a Special Judge’s Award for Cardiff Volunteer Fire Company’s mascot, Sparky. The convention was held in Wildwood Sept. 15-16.

Township Fire Chief William Danz Jr. said he was proud of the wins, mostly because it was the younger members who earned it.

“Our kids did this. They spent hours cleaning these vehicles. The kids did so much work,” Danz said.

Firefighter Brandon Parker worked laboriously to make Farmington’s pumper shine like new. He said the buffer machine he was using broke during his work, so he had to hand polish all of the nozzles and handles. The pumper truck is the oldest truck in the township and because of funding cuts, the company has to keep it functional and in service until another can be purchased, assistant chief Dennis Sharpe said.

“We refinished all of the compartments; they were all in disrepair,” he said. “The fender wells were all rusted. The air packs were expired. We repainted the cab, repaired all of the lights. It’s got to be able to respond to fires. We have to keep it functional. We did so much work on it and it looked so good that we decided to enter it in the parade. It would have been a shame not to take it down there.”

Danz said Cardiff’s mascot wasn’t even entered in the parade.

“He was just there to walk in the parade,” he said of Sparky’s inside-man Joe Hartman. “But Sparky had the kids going crazy and the judges noticed. They can give that award for anything they want and they chose Sparky.”

The young team of firefighters from Cardiff were the expert cleaners of Danz’s vehicle, he said. Vince Mascio, Kegan Gilbert, Craig Thompson and Ronnie Gras spent hours cleaning the outside and inside of the SUV as well as cleaning every part of the engine block. It was still sparkling on Thursday, Sept. 20, outside of a few stray leaves that had fallen in.

“We have such a sense of camaraderie in the department and we want people to know that,” Danz said. “We are the best department in the county, bar none.”

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  Pictured from left are Cardiff Volunteer Fire Company firefighters Vince Mascio, 19, Kegan Gilbert, 21 and Craig Thompson, 20 and junior firefighter Ronnie Gras, 16, with the first place trophy they won in the 135th Annual New Jersey State Fireman’s Convention parade in the command vehicle category.

  Cardiff Volunteer Fire Company mascot Sparky holds up his trophy, a Special Judge’s Award won at 135th Annual New Jersey State Fireman’s Convention parade.


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