RED BANK: ‘GOING HOME’ FOR FIREFIGHTER

Engine 96 of the Westside Hose Company, bearing the casket of slain Red Bank volunteer firefighter Andrew Hill, leads a procession past the Leighton Avenue firehouse Tuesday. A contingent of pipes and drums, with representatives from Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex and Hudson counties, played ‘Going Home’ as the cortege passed, en route to a cemetery in Tinton Falls. (Video by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

 

RED BANK: HONORS FOR SLAIN FIREFIGHTER

Firefighters gathered at Calvary Baptist Church for a special service in memory of Andrew Hill prior to his funeral. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank firefighters gave a formal sendoff Tuesday to one of their own, a 26-year-old volunteer slain just blocks away from the firehouse where he found his purpose in life, in the words of Mayor Pasquale Menna.

In an open casket at the Calvary Baptist Church on Bridge Avenue, Andrew Hill‘s remains were dressed in the formal blue firefighters’ uniform he’d recently finished paying for.

Outside, the fire engine on which he’d answered numerous alarms waited to carry his casket to a cemetery.

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RED BANK: FIREFIGHTER’S FUNERAL SET

A tribute marks the place on Tilton Avenue where Andrew Hill was found stabbed early Sunday. He died a short while later at Riverview Medical Center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank emergency personnel are planning a white-glove sendoff for one of their own next week.

Volunteer firefighter and first-aider Andrew Hill, 26, died early Sunday, shortly after he was stabbed on Tilton Avenue at the corner of Bank Street, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office.

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RED BANK: OLDEST FIRE COMPANY RETIRED

Relief Engine Company retains the second-floor meeting space in its longtime home on Drummond Place. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[CORRECTIONS: The original version of this post mistakenly identified the Relief Engine Company as the oldest firefighting unit in Red Bank. That honor belongs to the Navesink Hook and Ladder, which was established in 1872, eight years before Relief, which was the town’s second fire company. Additionally, the Drummond Place firehouse is now owned by St. James Church, not the borough, as previously reported.redbankgreen apologizes for the errors.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Making Red Bank history, one of the borough’s six volunteer fire companies is being retired from active duty.

Under a consolidation plan in the works for three years, the Relief Engine Company, stranded for the past two years without a firetruck, will become a keeper of borough firefighting history, Chief Stu Jensen announced Wednesday.

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SEA BRIGHT: RIVER WATER IN THE AIR


Volunteer firefighters from Little Silver and Rumson and Ocean joined their counterparts in Sea Bright for training in the use of a jet siphon Saturday morning.

The equipment enables firefighters to draw from a body of water. A little added pressure turned the flow from the hoses into pretty arcs over the Shrewsbury River at Imbrie Place. (Photos by Sea Bright Fire Rescue, above, and Bill Bergin, right. Click to enlarge.)

LINCROFT: FIRE DAMAGES HOME

Fire caused extensive damage to a home at 209 Dogwood Lane in Lincroft early Thursday afternoon. No information was immediately available about the blaze, Neighbors said the owners were not home at the time, and that a dog in the house was uninjured. Summer heat added to the challenge for volunteer as local temperatures climbed past 90 degrees. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: A PLUG FOR KEEPING PLUGS CLEAR

rb hydrant 012516In the aftermath of this weekend’s blizzard, Red Bank volunteer firefighters dug out a fire hydrant on Maple Avenue at Waverly Place Monday afternoon.

The fire department asks that residents help keep hydrants clear of snow to aid quick access in emergencies.  (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

ON THE GREEN: FILM TRACKS SANDY RECOVERY

Here’s the trailer to “After Sandy,” a new film made over the past three years by Middetown resident Joe Minnella to document the rebuilding efforts at the Jersey shore in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Minnella and Anthony Jude Setaro of Red Bank, who produced the film, are alumni of Red Bank Catholic High School.

To view the full  100-minute film, click “like” at the “After Sandy” Facebook page and you’ll receive a link to the film page at 8 p.m. on Thursday. The film will be available for viewing until 8 p.m Friday. (Click to enlarge)

 

LITTLE SILVER: STUDENT TO RATE WALKWAYS

theo cheevers 071015 1Theo Cheevers at Church Street and Rumson Road, site of a recent sidewalk reconstruction. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

donegoodlogoWhere exactly in Little Silver are there sidewalks, and what condition are they in? How might crosswalks be improved?

A young borough man has decided to tackle those questions this summer. And while the effort sounds, um, pedestrian, local government officials are looking forward to his findings.

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RED BANK: BLAZE DAMAGES HOME

RB fire 031915 2The fire did heavy damage to the house at 93 River Street. The roof at the rear corner of 95 River, at right above and left below, also briefly caught fire. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

RB fire 031915 1No one was injured as Red Bank volunteer firefighters quickly knocked down a blaze that had tongues of flame shooting out of two sides of a house Thursday morning.

The occupants of the home at 93 River Street, between Shrewsbury and Leighton Avenues were not present when police on patrol noticed smoke and called in the fire at around 11:15, said police Chief Darren McConnell.

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RED BANK: LAUTERWASSER TO BE FD CHIEF

rbfd chiefs 120214 1Chief-elect Joe Lauterwasser, right arrives at the First Aid building Tuesday night with his prospective first deputy, Chris Soden, left, and second deputy Pete DeFazio, center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03If there’s one constant that defines the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department, it’s family.

That was evident on Tuesday night, when the 143-year-old department’s annual election night celebration was dominated by names and faces that would have been familiar to attendees generations ago.

“We’re based on tradition,” said ex-chief George Lauterwasser (2002) as he awaited the arrival of the chief-elect, his 30-year-old son, Joe, at the First Aid building on Spring Street with dozens of other volunteers. “We keep it up with the kids. We’re old school.”

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RED BANK: CHIMNEY FIRE DAMAGE LIMITED

rb fire 286 spring 100514Red Bank volunteer firefighters “did a fantastic job” in quickly quelling a chimney fire at 286 Spring Street reported at about 9 p.m. Sunday, said Chief Tommy Welsh. The homeowner apparently overloaded the fireplace with wood, he said. Fire damage was limited to a small area of the roof, and the firefighting effort produced minimal water damage, Welsh said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: BACK FROM DEATH, WITH THANKS

jay campbell 032014Jay Campbell, center, chats with MONOC paramedics Mike Welsh, left, and Marcelo Aguirre during his visit to the Fair Haven First Aid Squad Thursday night. Below, Campbell poses with his family and the emergency responders who teamed up to save him from cardiac arrest earlier this year.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

jay campbell 032014 2The bug had been making its way through the Campbell residence in Fair Haven when Jay Campbell told his wife he wasn’t feeling well and was heading to bed early that Sunday evening in January.

So a short time later, when Leslie Campbell heard a gurgling sound, she raced to grab the pail she’d used to get her son through the illness. But the instant she reached the bedroom and saw her husband lying with his mouth agape and his eyes rolled upward, she knew something far more terrible than the flu had gotten hold of him.

Minutes later, 59-year-old Jay Campbell was, by the metrics of medicine, dead. But two young cops – responding to an “open-line” call in which the 911 dispatcher could only hear the sound of a woman shouting the name ‘Jay’ – began what became a rapid-response team effort to bring him back to life.

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RED BANK: CHIEF FACES PERIOD OF CHANGE

tommy welsh 120313Tommy Welsh arrives at the Westside Hose Company following his election as Red Bank fire chief last week. Below, the borough-owned Liberty Hose firehouse is in the process of being vacated because it needs upgrades the town cannot afford. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

liberty hose 120513 2A new, million-dollar ladder truck, firehouse consolidation and pervasive manpowwer issues are on the table as Red Bank’s next fire chief takes the helm on January 1.

For chief-elect Tommy Welsh, it’s the second time around as head of of the all-volunteer department, having served as chief in 1996. This time, however, the department is on the apron to some of its biggest changes in a generation.

“We’re in the middle of some history here,” he told redbankgreen at a party to celebrate his election last week.

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INTRODUCING: CLASS ACT

CLASS-ACT_MIDDLETOWNToday, redbankgreen introduces a new occasional feature called Class Act.

Class Act reports news about local young people who’ve moved on to college and beyond to continue their education. We’ll be grouping them by town of residence and posting periodically. The first one is about Middletown residents who recently graduated from college, and one who’s still there, doing some esoteric research.

The feature is one of several new ones we’ll be rolling out on our all-new All Good page, which is dedicated to “news from a brighter future,” with special emphasis on the achievements and good works of kids, volunteers, charitable organizations and others who embody the spirit of a better world for all of us.

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SEA BRIGHT: COUNSELING SERVICE AVAILABLE

Greg Russo records an interview with Sea Bright resident Joey, who declined to give his last name, for a video blog. Below, cubicles set up for private consultations in the borough community center. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Six months removed from Hurricane Sandy, Sea Bright residents are still grappling with recovery and rebuilding challenges.

According to the borough’s volunteer coordinator, Frank Lawrence, many residents continue to face an uphill battle with insurance and construction issues, financial woes and severe emotional strain.

To help its residents deal with these overwhelming problems, the borough has partnered with several local and national charities to put together the Sea Bright Resource Center, a place where case managers, counseling services and more are readily available free of charge.

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FAIR HAVEN: MEATBALL MAN ROLLS AGAIN

Angelo DePonti, above and below, oversees the cooking for the Fair Haven Fire Department’s annual spaghetti dinner, scheduled for Saturday night. (Photos by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

There’s a special ingredient the Fair Haven Fire Department rolls out to ensure success at its annual spaghetti dinner fund raiser. It’s not in the meat. It’s not in the sauce. And it’s not in the bread.

It is Angelo DePonti – and his way with meatballs.

“I learned to make meatballs from my mother and father,” said DePonti, 83, a lifelong Red Bank resident. “As a kid, I used to watch them cook every Sunday. I was born to cook. I love to watch people eat my food. I haven’t got a recipe for my meatballs, I just know how much to put in… by the smell, by the feel”

DePonti, a retired Garden State Parkway maintenance worker, is a social member of the Fair Haven Fire Department. For the past 60 years, he’s also volunteered with Red Bank’s Union Hose Company where his son, Steve, and his two grandchildren, Steve Jr. and Matt, also serve.

In preparation for this year’s spaghetti dinner, scheduled for Saturday, DePonti was in the Fair Haven firehouse kitchen Thursday night preparing the meatballs with a crew of helpers.

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SEA BRIGHT: OPERATION SHEETROCK TRIMMED

The rebuilding of a public access stairway over the sea wall is among the projects in the scaled-back volunteer outreach, says coordinator Frank Lawrence, below. (Photo below by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Last month, Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long offered college students an altruistic alternative to the traditional debauchery-laden spring break: come help residents hang wallboard and make other repairs to their storm-battered homes.

Operation Sheetrock,” she dubbed it.

But with spring break now underway or rapidly approaching, few residences are ready for wallboard hanging, and won’t be for at least a few more weeks, according to borough volunteer coordinator Frank Lawrence.

“So many homes don’t have heat or electricity yet,” Lawrence said, “so a lot of the walls inside these houses are holding moisture. If we hang sheetrock over the walls right now, the moisture will be trapped inside, and when the weather warms up, mold will inevitably grow inside the walls. It’s the perfect environment”

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SEA BRIGHT TO MUSTER SPRING BREAK MUSCLE

By DAN NATALE

Forget the wet tee-shirt contests and beer-soaked bacchanals of spring break in Florida. Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long has another offer for college students:

Come to the real Jersey Shore to get your hands dirty and your shirt soaked in your own sweat, for a good cause.

Frustrated by Congressional foot-dragging on post-Hurricane Sandy funding, and looking at the prospect of another six months before the town sees a dime of the $60 billion package lawmakers finalized this week, Long said it’s up to the town to rebuild itself. And to do so, she hopes to tap into the good will of people who are aching to help and don’t mind smacking their own thumbs on occasion with a hammer.

“We’re trying organize a volunteer effort that mirrors what happened here two months ago, when thousands of volunteers organized to clean out” storm-wracked homes and stores, Long told a packed town hall meeting Wednesday night. “We want to bring in groups of skilled volunteers that will hang Sheetrock, do subflooring, and do light carpentry.”

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HERE’S A JOB: ‘POLICE MATRON’

Kim Ambrose, center, shares a laugh at the Fair Haven Firehouse Tuesday, shortly after she was re-appointed a police matron in Fair Haven and Rumson. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Kim Ambrose has a lot of titles, but only one she gets teased about.

Mother of three, EMT at Monmouth Park Racetrack, volunteer with the Little Silver and Fair Haven First Aid squads, founder of the Little Silver EMS Cadets program (featured in a redbankgreen story last July), part-time police dispatcher in Rumson, class 1 special police officer in Rumson, police matron in Fair Haven and Rumson: guess which one of those makes her cringe a little.

“It sounds old and stodgy, right?” she says of the ‘matron’ moniker. “It sounds like Helga’s going to come after you.”

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EMERGENCY RESPONDERS SEEK HELP

The first aiders are looking for help responding to more than 800 EMS calls a year. (Click to enlarge)

This edition of Done Good focuses on appeals for help from two Red Bank organizations that are usually on the receiving end of such calls.

One is the borough’s volunteer First Aid Squad and Rescue Squad, a unit of the volunteer fire department.

The other is the Community Emergency Response Team, an all-volunteer unit of the borough’s Office of Emergency Management.

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LITTLE SILVER HOUSE FIRE CONTAINED

The second story of an addition to the house was heavily damaged. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

About 15 volunteer firefighters stopped an early-morning fire that heavily damaged a portion of a Little Silver residence early Saturday morning.

The blaze, at 587 Branch Avenue, destroyed the second-story of a rear addition but appeared to have spared the rest of the structure.

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STAYING CLOSE TO THE FIREHOUSE

Vince Sarullo, right, and Colin Seitz on the fire escape of their new office, next door to the Navesink Hook & Ladder on Mechanic Street. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

This was going to be an article about a building.

redbankgreen‘s original impulse on this story was to call attention to the fact that a prominent second-floor space in downtown Red Bank had been filled after a prolonged vacancy – yet another sign of the business district’s robust comeback from the economic woes of recent years.

But things changed when we found out who occupies that space, and what their presence says about their sense of responsibility and commitment to a place they don’t even call home.

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