The Mantua Township Fire District No. 1 was formed in October of 2006 by petition and voter approval. Prior to the formation of the Mantua Township Fire District, the residents of Mantua Township were protected by four individually operated and governed fire companies, the Barnsboro Fire Company, Mantua Volunteer Fire Company, Centre City Volunteer Fire Company and Sewell Mutual Volunteer Fire Company. Each company operated under its own set of by-laws and was responsible for its own fundraising. Upon the formation of the Fire District, five commissioners where elected to govern and provide finances from tax base to support operations of the four fire companies combined. The original five fire commissioners, (Joseph Hauss, Nicholas Vacarino, Kevin Howarth, George Huston and Joseph Schmidt) hired Career Fire Marshal/Fire Official Anthony Lamana and appointed a District Fire Chief and two Battalion Chiefs to streamline the operations of the four combined departments. Each battalion was led by a Captain and Lieutenant of each station. District Chief Patrick Robinson developed a five year plan to consolidate the existing companies and apparatus into two battalions operating as one department. The Barnsboro Fire Company located on South Main Street was operated as the Fire Headquarters. The plan was instituted in a much more rapid fashion and by the end of 2007 the Mantua Volunteer Fire Company was disbanded and the members were merged with the Centre City Fire Company, operating the second battalion out of the now titled “Jackson Road” Station.
This time saw the sale of five pieces of apparatus, a 1987 Pierce Squrt (22-12), a 1989 Pierce Engine (22-22), and a 1991 Pierce Engine (22-32) as well as decommissioning both privately owned Brush Trucks (22-35 and 22-45). At that time units were re-numbered and the command staff was finally consolidated into the two battalions. Engine 22-11 and Rescue 22-18 were assigned to the S. Main Street Station, Engine 22-12 (formally 22-44), Ladder 22-16 (Formally 22-46) and Utility 22-17 (Formally 22-27) were assigned to the Union Avenue Station, and Engines 22-21, 22-22 (formally 22-31) and 22-23 (formally 22-43) as well as Brush 22-25 were assigned to the Jackson Road Station. The district also purchased two new Ford F-250 Pick-up trucks to be utilized as a Brush Truck and small utility truck. The Brush Truck was initially numbered as 22-25 and the utility was numbered as 22-19. The District operated in this manner for approximately one year until the beginning of 2008, when a decision was made to sell Engine 22-11 to acquire a new 3000 gallon water tender, which was numbered Tender 22-24 and stationed in the Jackson Road Station, and Engine 22-21 was moved to the Union Avenue Station. At this time the department also decided to hire a second career firefighter due to a decrease in manpower during daytime hours.
In May 2008 the board of fire commissioners developed the Casual Help Program which employees part-time firefighters to work weekend duty crews from 0600 hours to 1800 hours on Saturday and Sundays. The Casual Help Program was instituted as an incentive based program to help boost staffing during low membership hours. This program has single handedly assisted the Fire District in the enhancement of its public relations, maintenance and repair of apparatus and buildings as well as response to major incidents in which tax payer property and lives have been saved. In October 2008 it was determined membership from the “South Main Street” station had diminished causing a merger between the “South Main Street” Station and “Union Avenue Station.” At that time Rescue 22-18 was moved to the Union Avenue Station along with the members of the South Main Street Station and the Jackson Road station was now Fire Headquarters.
In April 2009 District Chief Robinson stepped down from his position and the command staff and battalions received a face lift. The Second District Chief, Joseph Schmidt, was appointed and further streamlined the command staff and abolished the two battalion system which the fire district was currently operating. At this time Engine 22-21 was sold and the remaining 22-2 units were re-numbered to the first battalion. The command staff consisted of a District Chief, Deputy Chief, Assistant Chief, two Captains and two Lieutenants. During 2009 the district made numerous capital purchases including a Zodiac Boat, new 2009 Dodge Durango Command Vehicle (2201) and Morning Pride Turnout Gear. The Fire District operated status quo until January 2011 when Chief Schmidt stepped down from his position.
In April 2011 a new District Chief, Brian Hauss, was appointed and it was determined that Chief Hauss was the youngest District Chief in the State of New Jersey at 24 years old. The command staff was again streamlined to a Chief, Deputy Chief, two Captains and two Lieutenants. In the summer of 2011 it was determined to sell the 1995 GMC Utility (22-17) and the 1992 LTI 85 foot ladder tower (22-16) and operate using strictly an automatic aid Ladder Company, and an agreement with the Pitman Fire Company No. 1 was formed.
In the summer of 2012 career firefighter had resigned and a hiring process was developed to find a Career Firefighter/Mechanic to maintain and service all of the Fire District Equipment. In December 2012 Firefighter Daniel Hauss was hired to replace the second career firefighter. In May 2013 a third career firefighter, Shawn Layton, was hired to supplement the ever decreasing volunteer ranks. In January 2014 Fire Marshal Anthony Lamana was promoted to the rank of Captain to assist with operations during daytime and nighttime responses. In December 2015 Firefighter Layton left the department and was replaced in April 2016 by Firefighters Michael Mercer and Kevin Gill. Also in April 2016 Firefighter Daniel Hauss was promoted to Career Lieutenant and the officer ranks were again streamlined to a Volunteer District Fire Chief, Volunteer Captain, Career Captain, Volunteer Lieutenant and Career Lieutenant. In May 2017 the Fire District decided to extend career staffing to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A decision to hire a fifth career firefighter, Victor Torino, was made and the shifts of the three career firefighters was changed to a 24/48 schedule. Each shift is staffed with one career firefighter, one career officer and one casual help firefighter on a rotating schedule. To present day the fire district is operating status quo with approximately 40 volunteer firefighters and 5 career personnel.
Currently the Mantua Township Fire District No. 1 is comprised of two stations. Fire Headquarters is located in the Sewell section of town at 155 Union Avenue and the Sub-Station is located in Centre City area at 191 Jackson Road. The Fire District is staffed seven days a week from 0600 hours to 1800 hours at the Union Avenue Fire House. Station 22-1 is dispatched by the Gloucester County Communications Center and responds annually to approximately 650 dispatched incidents. The Mantua Township Fire District operates two Class A Engine Companies (22-12 & 22-13), one 3000 Gallon Water Tender (2214), one Ford F-250 Brush Truck (2215), one Ford F-350 Utility (2217) and two Squad Companies (22-11 & 22-18).
The Mantua Township Fire District provides mutual aid support to numerous Gloucester County Fire Departments and responds on regional task forces for foam, water tender, LDH and state wide Neptune water supply system. The members of the Mantua Township Fire District provide superior service to its community with dedication to training and community service.