The South River Fire Department has a rich and interesting history, much like the town which it protects. The SRFD was first organized on February 24, 1896. The Protection Hook & Ladder Company was formed by thirty five men using a hand drawn wagon with ladders. The Washington Hose Company was also formed by an additional thirty five men using a wagon with 300' of 2 ½" hose coiled aboard. The two companies were housed in the first firehouse located downtown on Ferry Street. The firemen were alerted to danger by school and church bells throughout the town.
In 1909, the two fire department's headquarters were moved to the Borough Hall on Main Street where the South River Police Department is now located. In 1919, the town purchased an American La France, its first motor driven apparatus. The two companies joined forces in 1921 to form the current Engine Company #1 and three years later shifted to a new headquarters on George Street.
The Exempt Firemen's Association was formed in 1924 to honor those firemen with seven years or more of active service.
As South River grew, so did the need of the fire departments, and in 1929 a Mack Hook &Ladder truck was purchased equipped with a 60' ladder.
In 1931, a group of nineteen men met in Klauser's Hall on Water Street and formed a new volunteer company. The Reliable Fire Company was born.
In 1936, during the height of The Great Depression, the Ladies Auxiliary was formed. Comprised of mothers, wives, daughters and sisters of company members, the ladies banded together and served coffee to men at fires and assisted in fundraising events.
;In 1941, the Borough purchased a new Ward La France which replaced the aging 1919 American La France. The 1950's brought a pick-up truck to the scene, which was acquired to aid existing apparatus in fighting brush fires and to haul equipment. 1956 also brought a new American La France to the town, and in 1959 a White/Bruco 65' Aerial ladder was added. It was during this time that the firemen were summoned to fires by a call-box and air horn system.
The year 1959 also marked the formation of Summit Engine Company to provide protection for the citizens of "the Hill" area. In creating this new company, ten men were picked from Engine Company #1 and Reliable Fire Company.
All three companies were operating out of the George Street Firehouse until 1967 when the present headquarters for Summit Engine Company was constructed on Appleby Avenue. At that time a 1963 American La France was presented to Summit for their new location. Since then a "gentleman's agreement" has resulted in the rotation of the office of Fire Chief among the three companies.
Today, the South River Fire Department has over 100 men and women serving the residents of the Borough. They are alerted by a Plectron home alarm system and personal pagers to which they respond in seven pieces of equipment out of two firehouses. The departments go through countless, painstaking hours of training in rescue procedures, hazardous material abatement, structural and chemical firefighting, along with fire prevention and safety.