NUTLEY, NJ - A posthumous proclamation recognizes four Nutley career firefighters who lost their lives in service to the township, was announced and read during the ceremony held on Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. The township has dedicated a monument to them on the corner of Chestnut and Warren streets. The proclamation was read for record during the Board of Commissioners public meeting on Thursday, June 7.

The four township firefighters were Capt. Frank Zimmerman, Andrew Miller, Thomas “Hickey” Woodruff and Edward Stroba.

Zimmerman was on the Nutley Fire Department from 1923-1939. He was the first firefighter once the department turned career. In 1938 he was promoted to captain. During the Christmas season he spent many hours repairing toys for the town’s poor children. On Sept. 13, 1939 while on duty he had a coronary embolism in the fire departments dormitory upstairs and died.

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Miller was a firefighter from 1929-1941. On Nov. 8, 1941 the fire department responded to  the report of a fire at 66 Elm Place. Miller entered the basement by himself to subdue the fire, however he slipped down the stairs breaking his neck and fracturing his skull.  Capt. Earl Manning rescued him, slipping and breaking an ankle. Miller was later  pronounced dead at St. Mary’s hospital in Passaic.

Woodruff was NFD firefighter from 1931-1938. On Feb. 11, 1938 he fell off a 6-foot ladder in headquarters.

Edward Stroba was in the NFD from 1924-1942. On the evening of Dec. 19, 1942, days before he was about to propose to his girlfriend Katherine Stegner, a fire broke out at her home at 75 William St. He tried fighting the fire but suffered from smoke inhalation. The police chief and a few other men gave him emergency medical treatment. He was pronounced dead at the hospital from smoke suffocation.

Public Safety Commissioner Alphonse Petracco thanked Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci for his department’s work in creating the monument as well as the assistance of the township firefighters. “The monument came out beautiful …It couldn’t be better than having it on Memorial Day. … I just again want to thank the fireman and everybody that took part in putting that monument in and having those guys’ names on those plaques for eternity,” he said.

Mayor and Public Works Commissioner Joseph P. Scarpelli said, “We have a lot of monuments in town. I don’t think we have a more beautiful monument than that monument. […] The parks department and everyone who was involved in the construction and design should be congratulated for constructing a monument to honor these four individuals.”

Public Affairs Commissioner Steven L. Rogers said, “Commissioner Petracco used a word that we don’t hear much around us and that word is tradition. […] isn’t it a pleasure to see the Nutley Fire Department strengthen the customs and traditions in this township we live in. …“You’re giving us history.”

Tucci thanked Nutley firefighters Dominick DiSimone and Mike LaCorte as well as Lou Malfitano of the parks departemnet who also helped come up with the design. “This was actually their vision and then they came to speak to us about it in the parks department to see if there was any way we could help.  …It’s a great testament not only to the folks who are on there but to the whole fire department,” he said.

Revenue and Finance Commissioner Thomas J. Evans said, “It’s just the tradition of Nutley to recognize people of all walks of life. And this is very special to recognize firefighters of our town. There [are] many people who debate the cost of our services but nothing replaces the fact that they’re there. You guys are selfless and you’re caring for our people and people in need and your willing to do what many are unwilling to do.”

Dominick thanked the commissioners for allowing them create the monument.

The next Board of Commissioners meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 19.

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