The Plainsboro Volunteer Fire Company, No.1 was organized on November 1, 1959. There were 12 Charter members who took part in the organization. The Fire Company was incorporated on February 16, 1960, and on June 18, 1960 the fire company went into full operation. Our first truck was a used 1940 American LaFrance pumper. It was 500 gallon per minute pumper with a 160 gallon booster tank. The booster tank was later increased to hold 500 gallons of water.
We also purchased a Dodge truck with a 1000 gallon booster tank and a 250 gallon per minute rotary pump. A 300 gallon per minute portable pump was donated by Walker Gordon and later mounted on top of the tank of the Dodge. A 1946 Chevrolet pumper was purchased by the fire company from the Forrestal Center and reconditioned.
The first officers of the Plainsboro Volunteer Fire Company were:
President: Howard Grant
Vice President: Joseph Dorgan
Secretary: Joseph Sherwin
Financial Secretary: Walter Carson
Treasurer: Frank Bakely
Trustee: John Martin
Trustee: James Chambers
Chief: Howard Grant
1st Assistant Chief: Elmer Wilson
2nd Assistant Chief: James Chambers
The original fire house was the cinder block building still located behind the Plainsboro Hardware Store. During the winter months, the building was heated by a coal fired pipeless heater to keep the water in the fire trucks from freezing.
In July 1962 the fire company moved to our present location. The land at this location was donated by the Wicoff Family and Walker Gordon Farms. The carpentry and masonry work for the fire house was contracted out and paid for by donations from the residents of Plainsboro. All work on the new fire house was done by members and friends of the fire company who were willing to donate time and the badly needed skills. Mr. Bob Cherrington did all the electrical work and Ted Wagner Sr. father of our members Roy and Ted Wagner did all the plumbing work. Simonson Brothers, Princeton Nurseries, Donald Everett and James Crammer supplied bulldozers and front end loaders to help grade the lot around the fire house.
Walker Gordon Farms supplied the fire company with its first fire alarm system. The stationary fireman on duty at the farm acted as dispatcher and would blow the steam whistle when someone reported a fire. Many of the fireman could hear the whistle but many others were alerted by telephone cans from other firemen’s wives who were at home and could hear the whistle.
The next years brought many changes to the fire company as the community expanded and demands on the fire company grew. In 1965, a 1000 gpm Hahn pumper was purchased. In 1968 a Ford 4 x 4 Brush Truck was purchased. In 1971 a 1250 gpm Hahn pumper was purchased.
In 1974 additional land adjacent to the fire house was donated by the Wicoff Family. In 1975 Princeton University began development of the Forrestal Center and expansion of the fire company was anticipated. Using a $100,000 donation from Princeton University the fire company expanded the fire house and purchased a 1977 Hahn 1750 gpm pumper. Exterior work on the building addition was completed in 1977 at a cost of $132,000. The remainder of the interior work was completed by the members over the next 2 years. In 1981 Plainsboro Township purchased a 1979 Pierce/LTI 100 foot ladder tower for use by the fire company. In 1983 a Chevrolet Step-Van was purchased by the fire company to serve as a light rescue vehicle and mobile emergency management center.