50 Years of Service - Bud Wenning & Vinnie Plaia Honored by Elberon Fire Company
Long Branch: Two 50-Years of Service Members of Elberon Engine No. 4, Bud Wenning and Vinnie Plaia were celebrated at a dinner in their honor at Tuzzio’s Restaurant attended by 35 fellow members of Elberon Engine Co. No. 4. The engine company itself is celebrating 128 years. Three Fire Department Chiefs, Buster Bentley, Angelo Ciaglia and Joseph Sirianni were among the guests to bestow their congratulations and best wishes to the veteran firefighters.
The Elberon Engine has a long history of service to the community from its beginning on April 25, 1890. It was the sixth Long Branch fire company to be chartered by the state. It actually was organized 12 years earlier from companies within the downtown area of the city. It met first in the old railroad station at the Deal line, at the line’s bend. Equipment consisted of a hose reel and 500’ of cotton hose line which was drawn by hand or pulled by a farm wagon if one happened by. It was housed in a rented barn located at the north end of what is now Stratton Place.
The history is that one night during a severe snow storm the railroad meeting room caught fire and burned down. Snow blocked the doors to the equipment barn so that the men could not get to the equipment. The next year a horse drawn fire wagon was purchased for $500, which carried an 800’ hose.
More of the story is provided from company journals which recount the history that makes for enjoyable reading. Firefighter members are at the station in Elberon on weekends to show visitors around and provide interesting history on the company and early fire fighting in the city.