June 15, 2021
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–In a show of support, firefighters from all around the area turned out to honor Past Fire Chief Skip Kontura of Hamilton Township Hose Company Station 15, who is battling cancer.
A little bit about Skip Kontura and his involvement in the fire service:
Ferdinand “Skip” Kontura was elected fire chief of the DeCou Hose Company in Hamilton Township at the age of 26 and was the youngest fire chief ever elected at the time.
Skip joined the fire company in June of 1954 as a junior member when he was 17 years old and two years later graduated Hamilton High West in 1956. He attended Menterey Peninsula College in California and studied courses in fire hydraulics, aircraft crash, fire and rescue techniques (CFR – currently called airport rescue firefighter) and fire protection equipment and systems. In NJ he took classes at the Mercer County Fire School, NJ State Fire College, National Fire Academy and an officer training school.
Skip remained fire chief for many years and took a special interest in fire hydraulics and equipment design. He ran many training drills involving water supply and large diameter hose.
In the July 1975 flood and Trenton Waterworks was flooded and out of service, Skip was involved in setting up a relay of pumpers to connect other surrounding water systems to Trenton with water. Water was pumped from Hamilton Township to Trenton and also Princeton to Trenton using fire apparatus. Since the water crisis of 1975 backup was installed between different local water systems, if one system is down an emergency valve can be opened to allow water to flow into the system, in 1975 no such emergency backup existed.
Skip also key in running a “Pump-A-Thon” where a 15 mile relay of fire apparatus was used to set up a water supply at the Trenton Speedway. The Pump-A-Thon was to raise money for the Burn Center.
The first piece of apparatus in the parade was Special Services 15 one of the many fire trucks Skip helped design.