RUTHERFORD, N.J. — If the Rutherford Fire Department West End Engine and Hose Company 3 is going to celebrate its 125th anniversary in style this Sept. 26, it might as well block traffic -- while making history.
“We want to beat the record for the most fire apparatus in a parade,” Lt. Neil Ohara said. “It should be quite the event for us.”
The current Guinness World Record was set in 2012 by the Atoka, Okla. Fire Department, with a parade that featured 220 vehicles.
Those considered apparatus are any used to extinguish fires -- trucks, ladders, rescue trucks and engines. Antiques and privately owned vehicles are also welcomed.
The parade committee invited more than 800 surrounding departments in New Jersey, New York, Long Island and Pennsylvania. Thirty of them have already responded.
As incentives, participation trophies will be awarded for first, second and third places for:
• Farthest traveled;• Most apparatus in the parade;• Most visiting members marching in Class A uniforms;
• Oldest apparatus;• Best appearing privately owned apparatus.
The parade begins at 1 p.m. on Union Avenue, with a celebration to follow at the Meadows Office Complex on Route 17.
Sean Walker, a member of Company 3 since 1980 and a former ex-chief, is hoping this parade will draw attention to the 84-member volunteer department.
“A lot of it is tradition. We want to keep that going,” said Walker. “We want to recruit members and keep them in.”
Ohara, a 46-year veteran, has kept the tradition going in his family. His son is a fourth-generation Rutherford firefighter. His father and grandfather both previously volunteered in North Arlington.
“The members of the department are like an extension of our family,” Walker said. “I’ve been there so long that I am going to fellow members’ weddings and their kids' weddings and watching their kids have kids.
"It’s a great feeling.”
MORE INFORMATION: Rutherford West End Engine and Hose Co. 3 (Facebook page)