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Fire Chief James Voorhis reports that the Westwood Fire Department was called 23 times for emergency
assistance during the month of April 2023. Chief Voorhis reports that one of the calls turned out to be a
serious incident.
One morning a fire broke out in a car in the side yard of a local auto repair establishment. The
Westwood Fire Department responded quickly but found the fire had spread to a second car before
firefighters were on the scene. Crews from two WFD engines quickly extinguished both cars containing
the blaze to the two cars. No injuries occurred.
The 23 emergency calls, three training drills and one maintenance night required almost 400 hours of
volunteer time
The Westwood Fire Department was called to assist the River Vale Fire Department four times and the
Old Tappan fire department at one incident. Westwood firefighters received mutual aid from the River
Vale Fire department and Emerson Fire department at one call.
Automatic fire alarms were received eight times in April. Although no fires existed at any of these
incidents, a full fire department response is required. Firefighters check the entire building to determine
if an actual fire exists. A variety of problems caused these automatic alarms: four times the alarms were
set off by cooking. Workers in the buildings unintentionally activated alarms on one occasion. A detector
malfunction caused one response
Two times the fire department responded for Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms. Carbon monoxide, CO, is
an odorless and colorless gas given off by improperly burning heating or cooking equipment. It can be
fatal at high levels. Again, each of the CO calls required a full fire department response. Fire crews check
the entire building with meters and determined that at these CO incidents fire crews found
malfunctioning boilers. Fire crews shut the boilers and turned the incidents over to PSE&G gas
Three times citizens smelled natural gas at their residence. Fire crews checked with meters and found a
malfunctioning stove at one call, a leaking hose to a propane grill at another. Fire crews shut the
propane tank and advised the resident to have repairs made.
The Westwood Fire Department and Fire Prevention Bureau would like to remind readers that fire
safety is still very important even when away on vacation. Just as two ways out of every area is
important at home it is very important when you are away at a vacation home, motel or hotel. As soon
as you arrive look for two exits. In a large hotel count how many doors your room is from the stairway
exits. Do not use elevators during a fire. Count the doors because in smoke you may need to use your
sense of feel. Find the emergency phone number for that city, or how to call 911 on the hotel’s phones.
Feel any door before you open it. If it is hot, do not open it, use the second way out or listen for
directions from the fire department. Once you are out, stay out, do not go back in until you are told to
do so by fire officials.
This article was submitted by the Westwood Fire Department. Any Fire Department related questions
can be e-mailed to or by calling 201-664-0526. The fire prevention bureau
can be reached at or by calling 201-664-7100 ext 308. PLEASE NOTE; THESE PHONE

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