SOMERVILLE, NJ - Mayor Brian Gallagher and members of the Borough Council, escorted by the officers of the borough’s fire department will hold the borough’s annual inspection of firefighters, rescue squad members and equipment Saturday afternoon on West Main Street, adjacent to Borough Hall.
The solemn ceremony begins at 3:30 p.m., followed by a parade down Main Street, concluding at 5:30 p.m.
The annual Firemen’s Inspection is steeped in tradition, and required by law, according to Gallagher. A borough ordinance requires that the governing body inspect the borough’s firefighters and equipment once each year to ensure their readiness, he said.
Dressed in full dress uniforms and wearing white gloves, the firefighters will stand at attention in front of their trucks.
A ceremony at the Firemen Memorial on the lawn of Borough Hall will precede the inspection. The bell, which used to be rung to summon volunteer firefighters for duty, was cast in 1910 and bears the name of Mayor Charles Kenyon and Fire Chief Charles Hagstead. A bronze life-size figure of a firefighter holding a rescued child in his arms stands atop the bell housing.
Father Ron Pollock, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church and chaplain of the Somerville Fire Department for 20 years, will reflect on the tradition.
The Somerset County Police Pipes & Drums will close the ceremony; a memorial wreath will be placed alongside the Memorial afterwards.
The firefighters and rescue personnel will then form a line of march for a parade down Main Street. There will be a pause at the borough’s 9-11 Memorial at the corner of Main Street and North Bridge Street for a short ceremony honoring the firefighters who perished in the collapse of the World Trade Centers in New York City.
The parade will continue a short distance down East Main Street past the reviewing stand, with Gallagher and members of the borough council saluting the firefighters.