In December of 1914, some of the local neighbors in Mahwah decided to formally organize a Volunteer Fire Department. Volunteer Company No. 1 was founded in 1915 with twenty-five charter members. Millard Cooper was elected the first fire chief. In 1917, the Fire Department requested that the township provides greater access to water supplies by building new water mains and hydrants. The next year the company purchased a Brockway truck that was housed in a garage on Hillside Avenue owned by Millard Cooper. In August 1918 the fire department asked the township committee to take over all of its apparatus without any additional expense to the town. The township committee passed an ordinance in December 1918 that created a township fire department, thus ending the independence of the company. Throughout the 1920’s the department held an annual Turkey Dance, fairs, and block dances. Raffles were sold and proceeds were used to start a building fund for a new headquarters. In 1925 the town paid 7,385.00 for a Buffalo-LarrabeeHale Triple combination Pump, Chemical and Hose car that had a pumping capacity of 750 gallons per minute. Today, Mahwah’s pumpers can pump up to 2000 gallons per minute.
In 1928 the town and the fire department agreed to divide the cost of the purchase of a Sterling Alarm Siren. Another electric siren was purchased in 1931 and that one lasted until 1946, at which time it was replaced by an air horn. In August 1926 the fire department requested that the town build a new firehouse and it was built in 1929. Fire Company No. 1 donated $2000 toward the cost of the building that did not exceed $75,000. For the first few years of the firehouses operation, Albert Winter donated water needed to run the firehouse.
Today Company No. 1, has 6 pieces of emergency apparatus. The members of Company No. 1 specialize in the area of heavy rescue which includes, calls such as building and trench collapse, elevator rescues, dive-water rescues, motor vehicle accidents, and confined space emergencies. Company No. 1 is the home base for Fire Communication (Fire-Comm), the communications center for the entire Fire Department. It houses two pumpers, two rescue trucks, a rescue support pickup, collapse and confined space trailer and three boats.
Now 100 years later, the 27 square mile Township of Mahwah and its 26,000 citizens are served and protected by 150 volunteers from five different Fire Companies and Mahwah Emergency Medical Services, Inc. (MEMS). The department also mans a squad of Fire Police who take charge of traffic control at major fire scenes and other emergencies. Mahwah is a proud member of the Northwest Bergen Mutual Aid Association and the Bergen County HAZMAT Association, helping out their neighboring towns whenever they are needed.