(TRENTON) – To honor New Jersey firefighters, Assembly Democrats John Burzichelli (D-Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem) and Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) sponsor legislation to establish the New Jersey Fire Museum and Fallen Firefighters Memorial. The measure was approved by the full Assembly on Monday 74-0.
Starting in the 1960s, the Department of Environmental protection began accepting donations of fire equipment and related material from Mr. Ernest N. Day of Dunellen, a fire equipment dealer and personal collector of fire equipment and memorabilia. The donations were to be exhibited and preserved in a ‘future fire museum’. The
New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry would eventually collect those donations and continued accepting other donations until 1986.
For over 60 years there have been efforts to establish an official fire museum with limited success. The bill (A-5075) would establish the museum as an independent, non-profit organization, which shall honor New Jersey’s proud history of firefighting service and the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives. The collection donated by Ernest Day shall be transferred from the Department of Environmental Protection and placed in the custody of the New Jersey Fire Museum and Fallen Firefighters Memorial. The bill would also require the memorial to be governed by a board of directors members and make a $200,000 supplemental appropriation to help the board carry out its responsibilities.
Upon Assembly approval of the measure, Assembly members Burzichelli and Johnson issued the following statements:
“All of the brave firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty deserve to be honored and remembered,” said Burzichelli. “This museum and memorial is a way to honor their service and it must receive the attention that it deserves. This measure would allow the board of directors to make the proper improvements to the museum and preserve the memory of New Jersey heroes.”
“By recognizing the museum and memorial as an independent organization, we would allow the State to finally progress on a path toward establishing a permanent and official Fire Museum and Fallen Firefighters Memorial,” said Johnson. “We must honor the men and women who sacrifice their lives to protect our residents, and this bill is one of the ways we can do exactly that.”