AVALON - The Avalon Volunteer Fire Department held its 100th Anniversary celebration on Oct. 19 in front of the Avalon Public Safety Building. Hundreds of Avalon residents and visitors turned out for the celebration which continued later in the day with a parade and a community party held at Avalon Community Hall.
Avalon Volunteer Fire Department Chief Edward Dean hosted the event. Also in attendance were past Chiefs of the Avalon Volunteer Fire Department: Bill Tozour Jr., Dick Dean, and Louis Fiorucci.
The department is among the oldest of Avalon’s volunteer civic groups and originally was known as the Peermont Fire Company in 1913. Approximately 300 men and women have served in the department over the past 100 years and has performed duties well beyond fighting fires. In the 1940’s the Avalon Volunteer Fire Department was the core of local civil defense during World War II. In 1962, the department performed its largest volunteer duty in its history by helping the Borough recover from a devastating coastal storm. On June 29th, 1956 the department experienced its only death in history when firefighter Tommy Thompson lost his life in the line of duty by fighting Avalon’s “Icehouse” fire.
A commemoration ceremony included speeches by many local dignitaries including New Jersey Congressman Frank LoBiondo, State Senator Jeff Van Drew, and Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton. Mayor Martin Pagliughi also delivered remarks and appreciation for the service of the department; he also serves as a Lieutenant for the department.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, several neighboring fire departments assisted with the ceremonial housing of Tower 1153, a new fire truck the department acquired in 2012.