World Trade Center/2001
The Fanwood Rescue Squad sent crews on two nights for 12-hour duty shifts near the WTC disaster site following that awful day on September 11, 2001. Along with hundreds of rescue squads from across the country, our crews were available for whatever help was needed. Pictured are First Lt. Jeff Downing, EMT Patti Keever, Sgt. Eileen Ochsner and EMT Mark Crawford standing by at West Avenue and Chambers Street. Because of an overwhelming response by volunteers from New Jersey and elsewhere, New York officials were forced to ask volunteers to stay away unless specifically asked. Two years later, we received the citation below from the FDNY.
Three of our members volunteered for a twelve hour shift on July 4th, 2000, for OpSail 2000, the parade of tall ships. Phyllis Fasano, Jim Baxter and Samantha Ashton-Moore, pictured with rig 79, were assigned to an area of Weehawken, NJ, in the shadow of the New York City skyline.They responded to a total of seven calls, with the assistance of Weehawken squad members who acted as guides. They missed the fireworks, but they didn’t miss a chance to pitch in with the many other volunteer rescue squads who provided EMS coverage for the hundreds of thousands of spectators lined up along the Hudson River.
Bound Brook Search and Rescue/1999
The Rescue Squad provided several crews to help with search and rescue in Bound Brook, NJ, in the days following Tropical Storm Floyd, which did millions of dollars in damage in September 1999. The Fanwood borough council presented Captain Jeff Downing with a resolution recognizing the squad’s assistance to a neighboring town:
RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING THE FANWOOD RESCUE SQUAD PRESENTED BY BOROUGH COUNCIL PRESIDENT WILLIAM POPULUS ON BEHALF OF MAYOR MARYANNE CONNELLY ON OCTOBER 14, 1999
WHEREAS, on September 16, 1999, Hurricane Floyd devastated the Fanwood Community with its destructive nature, and
WHEREAS, the Fanwood Rescue Squad was again committed to serving the residents of Fanwood in their most professional way, and
WHEREAS, the Fanwood Rescue Squad saw a need in the neighboring community of Bound Brook in Somerset County and along with other paid and volunteer squads from the State of New Jersey responded with medical supplies and assistance or in any other way possible to relieve the residents who lost relatives and possessions in the worst storm in this area, and
WHEREAS, nine members of the Rescue Squad expended approximately 120 hours over a five day period offering medical support at four shelters housing approximately 600 people, and
WHEREAS, the Fanwood Rescue Squad is to be commended for sharing their talents and expertise with other Communities,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Fanwood do hereby recognize and applaud the members of the Fanwood Rescue Squad for extending themselves across the borders responding to a cry for help and commend them for their dedication to serving their fellow man.
Maryanne S. Connelly, Mayor
FANWOOD COUPLES FONDLY RECALL BIRTHS OF DAUGHTERS IN AMBULANCE
By Moria C. Cappio, Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood, July 29, 1999
Many people believe that each newborn baby is a miracle in itself. But for two Fanwood families, the miracle of their babies’ birth seemed just a bit more momentous.
In 1998 Haley Knudson and Lisa Kline were very eager to get an early start in the world– so eager, they didn’t even allow their parents time to reach the hospital, choosing a Fanwood Rescue Squad ambulance as their delivery room. For Joyce and Neil Knudson, July 6 of 1998 began quite early with a call to 911 around 4:30 a.m. after Mrs. Knudson’s contractions jumped from eight minutes to two minutes apart. A speedy arrival of the Fanwood Police and Rescue Squad got mom and dad into the ambulance and three blocks away from the house before a persistent baby decided she had had enough.
“The Rescue Squad was only able to drive about a hundred yards away from the house before it had to pull over,” remembers Mrs. Knudson.
The ambulance pulled over, traffic was stopped and, with Mr. Knudson looking on from the front seat, baby Haley was delivered on-site by the team of Ed Sargent, Sue Davis, Bill Muirhead and Al Rossi. Squad members focused on dealing with the clinical aspects of the situation, trying not to get too wrapped up in all the emotions. Mr. Sargent admitted he wasn’t on the real “working end” of the delivery, but couldn’t describe it as anything else but a “great experience.” Prior to Haley, the Fanwood Rescue Squad had gone almost two decades without delivering a baby, but their delivery days weren’t over yet. Two months after the Knudson baby, on September 15, 1998, a desperate call brought the Squad to the home of Councilman Stewart Kline and his wife, Susan. Strong contractions had caught Mrs. Kline home alone and forced her to crawl to the phone to place the 911 call.
“I actually had to crawl to the phone and then all I could say was, ‘I’m having a baby!”
It was about 11 a.m. when squad members Bob Kruthers, Steve Siegal, Ruth Wegmann and Bill Crosby arrived. Mr. Kline returned home just in time to see his wife being loaded into the ambulance, but there wasn’t even time for the rig to pull away from the Kline home. With two pushes, Lisa Kline was born in the parked ambulance, out in front of her own house. “It was just amazing,” said Councilman Kline of his daughter’s birth.
Even after considering a more traditional hospital setting, Mrs. Knudson admitted she “wouldn’t have done it any other way.” Amongst all the families’ excitement, there was still lots of room to give credit to the Fanwood squad. Both sets of parents stressed how thrilled the squad was for the baby girls and how supportive they have remained.
For the first 30 years of its life, the Fanwood Rescue Squad operated out of the Fanwood Fire Company’s headquarters on Watson Road where the pocket park is now located. In those days, the ambulances where Cadillacs–essentially, station wagons converted to hold a stretcher and equipment. But ambulances were changing. The box-type van was becoming the state of the art in emergency vehicles. And over the decades, the Rescue Squad had come into its own as a busy and vital part of Fanwood’s emergency response system. And so, after much debate and considerable resistance from some forces in the borough, the Rescue Squad undertook to build its own headquarters building in a new location across the street.
Ground was broken in March 1977. The construction was totally supervised by members of the Building Committee, chaired by member Jim Russell. Squad members, local Boy Scouts and other members of the community helped with everything from clearing land to painting.
The building was dedicated on September 25, 1977. The dedication ceremony was attended by members of the Rescue Squad, Fire Company and town officials, plus members of the public. The entire project cost only $30,000 because of the many hours put in by volunteers who worked for no pay. The dedication party inside the squad building included a buffet in the ambulance bay and a brass band.
Today’s building stands exactly as it did in September 1977, with the exception of some cosmetic changes, replacement doors and windows and a couple of paint jobs. The furnace/central air unit and water heater have been replaced. A backup generator was installed following a tornado in 1999 that took out power to parts of the borough for days. A computer network was installed by volunteer members in 2006. A new flagpole was installed in 2008, a squad member’s Boy Scout Eagle project.
Today, we recall the words of Robert Rau, Construction Committee member:
“I dedicate this building for the use and well being of all who may use the services of the Fanwood Rescue Squad in the years to come. May it serve them well, lessen their hurt and comfort all who need the services of their fellow man”.
Laura Millard Birth/1976
Most of the founding members, mostly firefighters.
First squad meeting, 1948. Founder Bill Mathews is in the center, front row.