AFTER 50 YEARS, STILL AFLAME FOR DUTY

wm-stratzFifty of Bill Stratz’s 80 years have been with the Red Bank Fire Department. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s an unlikely warm Saturday afternoon in Red Bank and Bill Stratz is waiting for his four-year-old great-grandson to barrel through the front door of his McLaren Street home at any time. Stratz is on babysitting duty for a few hours, after which he’ll try to do some cleaning in the basement.

There isn’t much for Stratz to do these days on account of a bum knee that’s kept him in physical therapy the last few weeks, and will continue a few more. He’s not happy about this. It gets between him and a passion he’s had for a half-century: chasing fires in Red Bank.

At 80, Stratz, who for the last 18 years or so has stayed active with Relief Engine Company as a member of the fire police, is still eager to answer the call of duty in Red Bank — a call that seemed unavoidable when he moved to town in 1961.

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