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DV Pilot police & fire

Oradell firefighters celebrate 50 years of service

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

SPOTLIGHT: Veteran Oradell firefighters Charles May and William Spranz will be honored next week for 50 years of service with the department with a special performance of the Neil Simon play “Fools” by The Bergen County Players, followed by a dinner at the firehouse.

More than 150 people are expected at the Nov. 3 event, including government officials and other dignitaries, former chief Derek Kahill told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

“Given the fact that we cannot invite everyone, we have set up an email address for people to send their regards,” Kahill said: 50years@oradellfire.org

A former borough councilman, May joined the department in 1962 while working as a union carpenter and moved quickly through the ranks.

He became a 3rd lieutenant in 1967-1968 and then a 1st lieutenant in 1969 before being named captain a year later.

After two terms as assistant chief, May became department chief in 1974.

In only two years, he led the way to the formation of a dive team, the purchase of the department’s first rescue boat and several other advances.

Continuing his leadership, May became an administrative officer and served as department vice president from 1978 through 1981.

It was during that term that he rescued a woman from a row of burning stores and apartments at Ridgewood Avenue and Kinderkamack Road (March 27, 1980). May was later given the Valor Award by the New Jersey and New York Volunteer Firemen’s Association.

A grandfather of two, May became department president in 1982, a life member of the NJ State Firemen’s Association a year later and a 3rd lieutenant, once again, in 1985.

William “Bill” Spranz continues to lend his expertise to the department, having joined in February 1963 while working for Cadillac.

He became mechanic and shop lead for both the fire and public works departments in the borough.

Spranz held a key position from 1965 through 2000 on the Fire Department’s Truck Committee, which is responsible for design and purchase of apparatus.

In 1977 when Oradell’s Water Rescue Team was called to Main Street in Lodi, he operated the department’s rescue boat, saving 22 people from rising floodwaters.

Since his retirement, the grandfather of two has worked part time at Volk-Leber Funeral Home in Oradell.

He also has remained active in the department, keeping the 1928 American LaFrance engine known as “Old Moe” shiny and humming each year for the borough’s Fourth of July parade.

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