The History of the West Orange Fire Department is Slated for a New Book

Author/Historian, John Dandola, Has Expanded His Original WOFD Centennial Album
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WEST ORANGE, N.J. - June 29, 2017 - PRLog -- On April 7th of this year, West Orange Fire Department historian, John Dandola, was asked to speak at the dedication of a monument to the late Chief Martin T. Kennedy. Kennedy has been the only firefighter to die in the line of duty and that was back in 1942. After the ceremony, Chief Peter Smeraldo asked Dandola if he'd consider updating his 1994 West Orange Fire Department Centennial Album, which has been used as a learning tool for all new recruits. A professional author, screenwriter, and playwright, Dandola admits he wasn't sure about taking on the project.

"I was already contracted to complete a stage play and three books—all of which debut at various times this summer. I didn't think I could take on the fire department update but including a chapter on Chief Kennedy made the idea tempting because the guy fascinated me and I had only recently found records about him which fleshed out his story. I know it sounds crazy but in the midst of all my other work, I needed a fresh project to help clear my mind so I revamped the fire department history."

The book is designed as a companion to the West Orange Police Department history which Dandola undertook in 2016. The police book details the very tragic reason why that department was founded and the fire book details the equally tragic reason why that department was founded. What both books share is the inclusion of an accurate history explaining the town's founding (something which has been erroneously reported for generations).

Now with Chief Smeraldo taking his retirement on June 30th, the fire department publication is up in the air.

"I know they'd like to wait for the appointment of a new chief," Dandola says. "But since the book includes formal photos of all the chiefs, I'd be perfectly content to end with Chief Smeraldo's photo as a bit of homage since he always showed courtesy and gratitude for my work on the department's behalf."

Like the police history, this will be an exclusive short print run so it will be interesting to see if the firefighters are as enthusiastic about their department's history as the police were about theirs. With such a very targeted audience, the book is dependant on a certain number of pre-orders.

As it stands now, West Orange Fire Department: A History of Its Beginnings is complete at 106 pages. Inquiries can be made by contacting the publisher at
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