Volunteer Fire Fighters
2023 Fire Chiefs & Contacts
Chief Miguel Guarda
1st Assistant Chief Brian Budd
2nd Assistant Chief Harold Bentley
Office of Public Safety:
Firehouse History by Captain Arthur Green
The City of Long Branch has the proud distinction of being the birth place of the first organized fire company in Monmouth County. Prior to this all communities employed the citizen “bucket brigade”.
Organized in 1866 the Neptune Hook -Ladder & Hose Company became the 1st organized effort to battle the ravages of fire with a dedicated group of men and a fire apparatus. Their station on Branchport Avenue, now designated as Station 5 is also the home of the Oliver Byron Fire Eng. Co. No. 5 organized in 1890 and the Atlantic Fire Eng. & Hook and Ladder Co. No. 2 organized in 1874. The 3 consolidated companies operate a 2016 Pierce fire Engine 2575.
The City's first Municipal Building built c. 1873 on Norwood Ave is the current home of the Oceanic Fire Eng. Co. No. 1 organized in 1872, the Phil Daly Hose Co. No. 2 organized 1889 and the Independent Eng. & Truck Co. No. 2 organized in 1910. Out of this station the 3 consolidated companies operate Rescue 2585 and a Smeal fire Engine 2573. It now carries the designation as Station 6.
The Branchport Hose Company No. 3 located on Branchport Ave also now designated as Station 2 was organized in 1905 when the hamlet of Branchport was annexed into the City. They currently operate an E-Onefire Engine 2572.
The Elberon Engine Co. No. 4 located on Lincoln Ave is now designated as Station 3. Organized in 1890, the Eng has been relocated to Station 6 where it can serve the community better but the station is still the home of the Elberon EMS which is very active. Firefighters of the Elberon Eng. Company still have access to the fire engine which has been relocated.
The West End Engine Co. No. 3 Located on 2nd Ave was organized in 1884 and is now designated as Station 9. They currently house Reserve Engine 2576 a Pierce Engine and Engine 2577 is an E-One Fire Engine.
As of 2022, our Volunteer Fire Division has approximately 30 active volunteers on the roster including the Chief, 1st Assistant Chief and 2nd Assistant Chief, who work alongside our Uniformed Fire Division. Additionally, we have a Fire Police Unit which has 9 members and 3 vehicles.
The Fire Police respond to calls mutually with the fire department and assist with traffic control, keeping the scene free from obstructing vehicles and vehicles that are not authorized to enter the area. Fire Police serve a crucial and intricate part in ensuring our firefighters’ safety by controlling traffic matters at the fire scene. Their work prevents vehicles from injuring our firefighters by striking them or running over water supply hose which could damage the hose and trap firefighters within a dangerous structure with minimal water pressure. In addition to responding to fire calls, they are often special requested to assist the Police Department with traffic control in emergencies and for community events. They are also part of a Monmouth County Fire Police Mutual Aid Agreement and often assist other jurisdictions with traffic control.
LETTER FROM THE FIRE CHIEF (2022)
In 2020, the Mayor and Council expressed a desire for the Volunteer membership of the Long Branch Fire Department to become a focus of their support. Membership and participation had declined in the several years leading up to 2020.
I was elected 2nd Assistant Chief in December of 2020 by the membership of the Fire Dept. and assumed office on January 1 2021 as the sole department Chief. Soon after, another election was held, and Miguel Guarda was elected 2nd Assistant Chief in March 2021. I became first Assistant Chief at that time.
2021 was a focused year of rebuilding and training members of the Department. Brian Valentino was appointed as Training Officer, and a robust schedule of training commenced. Members who had not been active answering calls came back, and a recruiting effort for new members was commenced. 3 members attended the Middletown, NJ Fire Academy and graduated. New drivers were qualified on our trucks. Membership increased on the Volunteer side, and through the support of the Mayor and Council an additional 3 paid firefighters were hired increasing the number of paid firefighters on 24 hour staffing from 4 to 5.
2021 ended with new members on the trucks responding to calls, an additional 5 members training in the Monmouth County Fire Academy, and several department officers training hard to obtain the training credentials to run for the office of Fire Chief. In December 2021, Harold ‘Buster’ Bentley an Ex-Chief again stood for election to become 2nd Assistant Chief.
On January 1, 2022 the Long Branch Fire Department had 3 Chiefs for the 1st time in 7 years. Members of the department trained in the thousands of hours and gave additional thousands of hours of free firefighter-power to our city and surrounding communities not only for emergency services but also for community related events.
Also in 2022, one of our junior members (membership is available starting at age 14) started a membership recruitment drive as part of his Eagle Scout project. This allowed the fire department not only the opportunity to recruit new members, but it also allowed us to meet and connect with citizens from all over our city. New members were not only brought into the department, but Joe Valentino, who headed the project, was invited to the NJ State Fire Chief’s Association to brief them on this very successful effort.
Several fire companies that did not have a large group of active responding members were consolidated into more active companies. The result has been more members responding to 4 stations. Fire apparatus has been relocated as well. This consolidation allows for better service to the city and a greater number of personnel responding in a group.
I would be remiss if I did not recognize Mayor Pallone, all of the members of the City Council, and Director William Broughton for their support of the Fire Department, both on the volunteer and paid side. Mayor Pallone, who comes from a family of Long Branch Firefighters has a vision to not only of the department’s rich history but also of its bright and important future.
It has been one of my life great honors to have been Chief, and I will continue to be active in the department into the future.
In short, your fire department has progressed into a more active and responsive agency that continues to respond to our community in times of emergency and participate in making our City a great place to live and visit.
Fire Chief 2021-2022