Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 09-11-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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12 NORTH PROVIDENCE PUBLIC SAFETY COMPLEX SEPTEMBER 11-17, 2019 | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION NORTH PROVIDENCE – Thirty years after creating a full-time per- manent Fire Department, the town of North Providence is moving its head- quarters and Station 1 into a brand new public safety complex. For decades the town relied on volunteer firefight- ers before adopting a call system for 14 years and switching to a full-time depart- ment in 1989. John Murphy Jr., retired district fire chief for Centredale, told The Breeze he thinks the permanent department today is as good as it is because of the former volunteer system. Volunteers were "very well-trained (and the) town benefited tremendously from that," he said. Mayor Charles Lombardi, who spent 21 years with the Marieville Fire Department, starting as a vol- unteer firefighter in 1965, said fire- fighters now joining the department "should never forget the foundation of this Fire Department." Lombardi remembers getting out of a warm bed at 3 a.m. when the siren went off, before there were radios, to respond to a call and driv- ing a pumper truck without a roof when it was 10 degrees out- side, he said. "That's what we did for no compensa- tion for many, many years," he said. "We had a great volunteer system in the entire town." Pasquale Zarlenga, retired Marieville fire chief who started vol- unteering in the mid-1950s, empha- sized the camaraderie among fire- fighters. "I'm glad I was part of it," he said. "I made a ton of friends." Today, the department consists of nearly 100 fire personnel work- ing out of three stations: one at the new North Providence Public Safety Complex at 1835 Mineral Spring Ave., one at 369 Fruit Hill Ave. and one at 1080 Mineral Spring Ave. Included in the fire administrative offices at the new safety complex are the offices of the chief of the depart- ment, fire prevention, emergency medical services, division of training and safety, and emergency manage- ment. Station 1 will house a rescue vehicle, engine company, and lad- der company, Lombardi said. To bid farewell to the former fire headquar- ters at 1967 Mineral Spring Ave., Bob Lincoln, former North Providence call firefighter/EMT, plans to host a dinner at the station later this month. Lincoln, of Taunton, Mass., who served from 1982 to 1989, told The Breeze that the dinner is a rare oppor- tunity to bring together different gen- erations of firefighters. "It means a lot to us who have served there," he said. "Some people made careers out of it." In the building's 45-year history, Lincoln said hundreds of people have walked through the doors and probably 100,000 runs were made out of that station. Another place full of memories is the Firefighters Memorial Hall, housed in the former Centredale Fire Department building, at 1995 Smith St. Photographs and newspa- per articles tell the 100-plus years of history of the North Providence Fire Department, and artifacts and memorabilia are kept in cases throughout the building. As Murphy Volunteerism, camaraderie are roots of NP Fire Department By MELANIE THIBEAULT Valley Breeze Staff Writer melanie@valleybreeze.com JOHN MURPHY JR., above, holds up a light, one piece of memorabilia at the Firefighters Memorial Hall, housed in the former Centredale Fire Department building, at 1995 Smith St. in North Providence. At left, PASQUALE ZARLENGA, left, and Murphy, both retired district fire chiefs for North Providence, stand in front of a case of Fire Department memorabilia at the Firefighters Memorial Hall. See FIRE DEPARTMENT, Page 14 LINCOLN LOMBARDI BREEZE PHOTOS BY MELANIE THIBEAULT 3rd Generation Family Owned and Operated Geoffrey Greene ~ LfD Jennifer Greene faGan ~ LfD 2251 Mineral Spring Avenue, North Providence, RI 231-9307 • www.robbinsfuneralhome.com CONGRATULATIONS to the Women and Men of the North Providence Fire and Police Departments on your new facility. Thank you for keeping our residents and local businesses safe.

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