A lifelong Roxbury resident who has spent 70 years as a volunteer fireman, was recently honored for his service by the township.
On Nov. 13, Roxbury Township renamed Mount Arlington Road for Louis Bizzari Jr. in recognition of his time as a fireman.
“It’s an honor,” Bizzari said. “I really appreciate it.”
Bizzari grew up across the street from the Roxbury Chemical Engine Company 2 and as a kid, often visited the firemen. He would help clean the truck, watch them do drills and sometimes even rode in the truck.
Bizzari explained that even at 90-years-old, he’s still active in the department. In fact, he recently went on a minor call to a kitchen fire.
During his seven decades as a fireman he has served in many roles. He was president, vice president, treasurer, was the Assistant Chief from 1970 to 1973 and Chief in 1973. Bizzari was also a fire marshal and inspector for 20 years.
“The main thing is I like to help people,” he said.
Bizzari also fought in the Korean War overseas from 1950 to 1952. In addition to being a volunteer fireman, he was a postmaster in Ledgewood for 29 years. He said his passion for being a firefighter has never left him, but he never imagined doing it for this long.
“There’s nothing wrong with me,” he commented. “I can still walk. I can still drive.”
One of his more memorable calls came when he was Chief. A tractor trailer full of explosives overturned on Ledgewood Circle and it was a big mess to clean up.
According to Bizzari, he is amazed at the stark difference in the equipment from when he began as a fireman and today. When he first started, he just had large raincoats, helmets and not much more. While in 2019, these guys have everything.
“Good thing today they have all kinds of good helmets, shoes and gloves,” he said. “It’s amazing what they have today.”
Outside of being a fireman, he goes to the YMCA in Randolph, was a baseball and softball umpire for many years and refereed soccer for 40 years as well.
“I try to keep myself active,” Bizzari said.
As he looks back on his 70 years as a fireman, he says it’s the brotherhood, monthly dinners and giving back to his community that really enjoyed. He noted he credits his wife Rose of 65 years for sticking with him.
“She knew she married a fireman,” he said. “I get along with everybody and they respect me.”