Battalions of The Deptford Fire Department

Jericho Volunteer Fire Company History: 1923 to 1979

Officers of the Jericho Fire Company in 1979 were: Lloyd Collins (assistant chief), Oscar Abbott (fire chief), R. Rialey (second assistant chief) and Carl Carter (chief engineer).

The Jericho Volunteer Fire Company of Deptford Township was formed in April, 1923 by a group of 14 men who were interested in providing fire protection for their community.

Before the formation of the new company, the area got its fire protection from the New Sharon Volunteer Fire Company.

The founding members of the company were Charles Davis, David Dorsey, Frank E. Merchant, Percy Clifton, Benjamin Clark, Amos Wilson, Van B. Gilbert, Leon Collins, Isaiah Kersey, Simon Johns, John Jefferson, Charles Syphax, Samuel Johns, and George C. Davis.  Over the years, several members of the company were the descendents of the founders.

The company's charter was drawn up on April 3, 1923 and was officially received by the state on July 6, 1923.  The original incorporation papers were for 50 years and in April 1973, the company had the state renew its charter for life.

Until a firehouse was built, the company members held their meetings at the Jericho School House.

During its first year as a firefighting outfit, the company got a break when a township resident, Sarah T. Hiller, donated slightly less than a half acre of land on Mail Avenue to the company.

In 1923, the company members built a small firehouse on the land, which is located off Woodbury-Glassboro Road.  The firehouse itself was small by today's standards and was about the size of a large shed.

The company's sole firefighting equipment at the time was a group of fire extinguishers that was pulled by hand on a wagon to the scene of a fire.

Like many other companies, Jericho used a large railroad wheel as a fire alarm.  It was sounded whenever a fire started.

During the next 15 years, the company continued to grow.  However, the company suffered a huge setback when the firehouse was burnt to the ground on Halloween night in 1938.  At that time, police believed the fire was set by youngsters as a holiday prank.

For the next 10 years, the company was without a firehouse until a two-engine bay facility was constructed in 1948 on the same site as the previous firehouse.  The firehouse was rebuilt under the supervision of Frank Kersey, the president of the company.

During this time, the company acquired a 1935 Ford fire truck, on one of the first engines purchased by the company.  The new firehouse contained both an engine room and meeting room.

The Ford truck was used by the company until they purchased a 1960 Great Eastern 750-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pumper with a 1,250 gallon tank.

A 1977 Hahn 1,250-gpm pumper was added and housed by the company after a parade in the town in the summer of 1977..

In 1979, the company had 17 senior (adult) members active in the company and 10 junior firemen.  Many of the company's adult members got involved in the company through the junior firemen program.

The company's fire district includes the Hammond Heights, Deptford Terrace and East Winonah sections of the township.  The district includes portions of Egg Harbor Road, Cattell Road and Woodbury-Glassboro Road.

Much of this area is residential, but it also includes some commercial establishments.  Jericho and seven other fire companies provide fire protection for Deptford Township.

Top officers of the company in 1979 were Oscar Abbott (fire chief), Lloyd Collins (assistant chief), Bob Riley (captain) and Richard Bundy (lieutenant).  Abbott and Carl Carter, (treasurer) had served the company for 35 years.