Chatsworth Volunteer Fire Department Station 291 was formed in 1939 in an old, one bay building, near Route 563 and Barnegat Road. It was originally known as Station 18-F-42. Firefighters were given the task of protecting the 96.4 square mile township and its residents from wildfires, dwelling fires, motor vehicle accidents, and any other incident where people were in danger. In 1963, the station moved to its current location on the corner of Routes 563 and 532. Members of the community played an active role in firefighting and fund raising. This story is being told by Lynn Ochberg:
About 75 years ago, before the current firehouse was built, Chatsworth still had a volunteer firefighting company ready and committed to mounting a prompt response to fire threats occurring anywhere in all of Burlington County as well as Woodland Township. At least for several years my grandfather, Jack Buzby of the Buzby General Store, served as fire chief. I learned of that fact indirectly, however. I used to sit on a shelf behind the candy counter of the Buzby store for hours watching the Chatsworth customers do business with my grandparents. To be honest, I was always hoping for someone to notice me and spend a penny to buy me a piece of candy, but that dream was extremely rarely fulfilled. Instead I'd hear my Grampop Jack greet his neighbors warmly and hear the reply, "Hello Chief!"
Even decades later the great majority of his customers addressed Jack Buzby as 'Chief'. When I first heard him called that word I surmised that he might have been related to a Native American tribe, but when I asked my grandmother, Kate Buzby, if that were true, she told me that the last local resident with any claim to Native American blood had died before I was born. She explained about the fire company and Jack's former leadership role. Then I asked why people still called him 'Chief' when he wasn't going out to fight fires anymore. "Well," she said, "a fire company doesn't just fight fires. The whole community has to pitch in to raise money for fire engines and equipment and a house to keep that equipment safe. And then there are hoses, shovels, protective clothing, and a siren that have to be bought and maintained, etc."
She went on to list all the different kinds of fundraising schemes she and her girlfriends had used to coax contributions from Chatsworth citizens to support the volunteer firefighters. She pointed out that since everyone in Woodland Township lived within a few feet of a pine and oak forest, the threat of fire was a universal concern. Her own contributions were mostly of the culinary kind: potluck dinners, holiday feasts, and, her pride and joy, bake sales. Kate Buzby had baked cakes, pies, and cookies in numbers that were higher than a fourth grader could even count. Her 'Ladies Auxiliary', as she called her group of friends, was devoted to their cause. "And your Grampop let me have all the flour and sugar and eggs and butter I could use to bake those goodies for our bake sales. So, you see, he was giving those ingredients at his own expense to support the fire company long after his years as chief. Everybody knew that, so, in my opinion, that's why they kept calling him chief. Maybe it was a way to say thank you.