CLARK, NJ – Expect to get wet as the Clark Volunteer Fire Department hosts a double wetdown on Saturday to celebrate the arrival of its newest fire trucks, two Pierce Velocity rescue pumpers. The all-afternoon party will take place from noon until 6 p.m., rain or shine, at the fire department headquarters at 250 Broadway. The department and Fire Chief Frank Cerasa invite the entire community of Clark and its neighbors to attend.
A long-standing firefighter tradition, the wetdown is both a thank-you to the community and a fundraiser for the all-volunteer department. Many neighboring cities and towns will send firefighters and trucks to join in the celebration. As is customary, water will be everywhere for those who wish to jump into the spray.
“Our previous wetdown in 2006 was estimated to have attracted a crowd in excess of 3,000 persons,” said CFD representative Frank Makosiej, “which is a testimonial to the strong community support of the volunteer members and others who invested countless hours planning, preparing, and executing the events.”
Non-stop music will be provided by “The Nerds” and “The Mix” from two stages. Fire truck ladder slides, bounce-houses, face-painting and other family-friendly activities will be fun for the children. Admission and entertainment are free.
The day’s events are paid for through fundraising activities and the sale of commemorative mugs on the day of the event. Hot dogs, beer and soda are available through the purchase of a $15 plastic commemorative mug. Wristbands are issued with each purchase. Children under 12 are free of charge and must be accompanied by an adult.
The Clark Fire Department is an all-volunteer force that responds to more than 550 requests for assistance each year. Members undergo extensive training each month and are on call 24 hours per day, 365 days per year with no financial reward for their time and efforts.
“Investment in up-to-date apparatus allows the 45 members of the Clark Fire Department to respond in a prompt and professional manner to all requests for assistance,” Makosiej said. The two new trucks, valued at $624,000 each, replace three old trucks, two engines and a rescue truck. One of the used engines has been sold and the other two are on the market.
Makosiej said the department is grateful for the township’s support. “The fire department also received $108,000 to purchase rescue equipment such as a Jaws-of-Life, spreaders, cutters and airbags,” he said.
Event organizers suggest nearby residents walk to the event. Those driving to the wetdown will be directed to one of three parking areas by the Clark Police Department: Mother Seton upper lot, Evening Realty at 35 Walnut Avenue or the office building at 67 Walnut Avenue.
“Thank you to the Clark community who will attend, the local businesses who are providing support, and the township government who acquired the new fire engine rescue pumpers and everyone who are combining their efforts to make the event a popular success,” Makosiej said. “The wetdown would not be possible if it were not for the support of the Township of Clark mayor and council and the Clark taxpayers. We hope you are a part of this rare and memorable community event.”
Anyone 18 years of age or older who is interested in volunteering with the Clark Volunteer Fire Department should stop by the Fire Headquarters located at 250 Broadway on any Thursday between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. or Sunday morning between 10 and noon.