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Incident Name: Unknown
Date:  05/20/1936
Personnel: 5 Lives Lost
Age:
Agency/Organization: Bass River CCC and NJ State Fire Wardens
Position: firefighters

Summary:
Kingsley White, 38, NJ State Fire Warden
Ira Morey, 35NJ State Fire Warden
Stanley "Smokey" Carr, 22, Bass River CCC Firefighter
Edward Sullivan, 20, Bass River CCC Firefighter
John LaSalle, 20, Bass River CCC Firefighter

Since this fire happened so long ago, many of the details are not known. According to local history and accounts passed down, the fire itself was quite large (133 square miles, 20,000 acres) and threatened a number of communities from Mannahawkin to Tuckerton. By one account, of the 750 men fighting the fire, 25 were wardens, 300 were assistants, 200 were Bass River CCC workers and 200 were from the 18th US Infantry at Camp Dix. The burnover occurred between Stafford Forge and Mayetta east of the Garden State Parkway (the Parkway was built in the early 1950s). It is believed that a truck had become stuck in the sugar sand. A second truck got behind him an gave him a push. It was the second truck that was burned over as the wind shifted and trapped the men. Two fire wardens and three CCC firefighters were killed. Many more suffered 1st and 2nd degree burns. (See the October 2006 Bass River Gazette at the link below for known details and eyewitness accounts.)

Bass River CCC who fought the fire: (from the Bass River State Forest Archives)

Bass River CCC, 1936 Bass River CCC, 1936

Pine Barrens Fuels:

NJ Pine Barrens vegetation near Tuckerton, NJ NJ Pine Barrens vegetation near Tuckerton, NJ
NJ Pine Barrens vegetation near Tuckerton, NJ NJ Pine Barrens vegetation near Tuckerton, NJ

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Maps

Approximate Burnover Location for the 1936 Bass River Fire

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

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Wildlandfire.com Links:

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Media Articles and Reports.

CCC News Article CCC News Article

 

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

Fire Fighter Memorial at Bass River State Forest. Memorial location: N39, 40’, 06.3” by W74, 26’, 27.4”. Greenbush Rd. near the intersection of Stage Rd, Tuckerton, NJ.;

The Bass River Memorial was originally dedicated on May 25, 1976 to commemorate the 40th Anniversary loss of 5 fire fighters (two State Fire Wardens and three Civilian Conservation Corps fire fighters) who were burned over while fighting a forest fire near the Town of Warren Grove in 1936.

On July 22, 1977 four Volunteer Fire Fighters from the Eagleswood Fire Company were killed when their engine was burned over on a fire several miles from this memorial. In 1982 a plaque remembering these fire fighters was added to the existing memorial. Another memorial stone was placed by the fire company in front of the Forest Office.

Memorial Plaque for the 1936 Bass River Fire Memorial Plaque for the 1936 Bass River Fire
Memorial Plaque for the 1936 Bass River Fire Memorial Plaque for the 1936 Bass River Fire
Poem on plaque for the young CCC boys who died Poem on plaque for the young CCC boys who died
NJFS Bass River Memorial NJFS Bass River Memorial

Map from the NJFS

NJFFS Bass River Memorial NJFFS Bass River Memorial

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Contributors to this article: Bill Edwards, Section Forest Fire Warden, NJ Forest Fire Service, Mellie, Aaron Small

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