Category Archives: Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department

Day One Hundred and Seventy-Nine-The Seventh Anniversary of Professor Angus Gillespie’s talk on the ‘Jersey Devil’ for the Junior Friends of the Hasbrouck Heights Library Halloween Events in 2013 November 13th, 2020

As part of our Halloween festivities for the Junior Friends of the Hasbrouck Heights Library, we had a really special event on November 13th, 2013 for a new event we planned called “The Family Night Lecture” that we had just created. Our special guest that evening was Professor Angus Gillespie from the American Studies Department of Rutgers University. He is an expert and lecturer on folklore and myths including the ‘Jersey Devil’.

Professor Angus Gillespie with Professor and Chairman of the Junior Friends of the Hasbrouck Heights Library Justin Watrel

Professor Gillespie was a noted author and he had explained to me that when he originally wrote the book “The Twin Towers: The Life of New York City’s World Trade Center” that it had a press of 2000 copies in 1999 bought mostly by his mother as gifts to her friends. When the Towers fell two year later, the book took off and became a Best Seller and he was flown all over the world as an expert on the history of the Towers. His book “Folklore in the Pine Barrens: A Study of the Pinelands Cultural Society of Waretown” was when the interest of the Jersey Devil began.

‘The Jersey Devil’

It has been a very interesting lecture that had everyone spellbound on the story of the Leeds family. The legend began with the story of Jane Leeds ( or in some historical cases Deborah Leeds) on a stormy night in 1735. Tired and frazzled from her 12 other children who over-worked her, she found that she was pregnant for the 13th time. She exclaimed ” I hope it’s not a child; I hope its the Devil”.

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The Leeds former home in the Pine Barrens

On a dark and stormy night she gave birth to the child with friends gathered in the home to witness the birth. The child was born normal and then transformed into a monster of hoofs, a goat’s head, bat’s wings and a forked tail. It then attacked people in the room before it escaped up the chimney. It disappeared into the Pine Barrens and over the years people have claimed to have had encounters with it the latest being in 1909.

Chairman Justin Watrel with Professor Gillespie and members of the Friends of the Hasbrouck Heights Library at the Junior Friends “Family Night Lecture”

It spellbound most of the crowd who were eager to ask questions. Professor Gillespie lead a discussion on the occurrences and accounts of the sightings over the years that got people thinking, was this thing still alive? The crowd had a wonderful time asking questions and getting a feel for the legend.

It was the last event of the Junior Friends of the Hasbrouck Heights Library that year and a wonderful way to celebrate Halloween. We had a small reception afterwards in Professor Gillespie’s honor.

Chairman & Professor Justin Watrel with Professor Angus Gillespie and Library Director Mimi Hui

My life as a Fireman: The 10th Annual Engine One Barbecue at the Hasbrouck Heights Firehouse June 7, 2017

My time on the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department

We ran the barbecue for 11 years. Me baking up a storm for dessert for the barbecue in 2017.

Our engine company used to run the barbecue the first week of June every year. We had a lot of fun.

My life as a Fireman: Brother Justin Watral promotes novel, “Firehouse 101” at the NJBooks2017 on June 11, 2017

My time on the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department

I am still promoting my novel, “Firehouse 101” the story of Hotel Executive Alex Livingston, who moves from Honolulu to Brooklyn a year and a half after the 9/11 attacks and the people he meets along the way and how they change his life for the better.

It’s available on IUniverse.com and all online book sites:

https://www.iuniverse.com/BookStore/BookDetails/101408-FIREHOUSE-101

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/firehouse-101-justin-watral/1007586031

Author Justin Watral promoting his novel “Firehouse 101” at the Brooklyn Book Festival in 2011 ten years after the attacks of 9/11.

My life as a Fireman: The Memorial Day Parade with the Brothers of Engine One HHFD May 29th, 2017

My time on the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department

Getting ready for Inspection at the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department in 2017.

My life as a Fireman: From Pasta to Pancakes; when fire fighting tastes good!

My time on the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department

Blogger and Fire Fighter Justin Watrel at the Little Ferry Auxiliary Spaghetti Dinner.

This article promoted all the great meals provided by local first responders companies in Bergen County, NJ.

My life as a Fireman: The Engine One October Drill to Home 2 Home Suites by Hilton tour October 4th, 2017

My time on the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department

Our Engine Company toured the Home to Home Suites in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ for a drill

My life as a Fireman: The Brother’s of Engine One participate in the HHFD Fire Prevention Open House October 22nd, 2017

My time on the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department

Engine 615 (One) at Fire Prevention Week in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ.

My life as a Fireman: The Brothers of Engine One assist in ‘Santa Around Town’ in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ December 17th, 2017

My time on the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department

‘Santa Around Town’ is one of our biggest community events. The Department in 2017.

My life as a Fireman: Brothers of Engine One HHFD hold their Ninth Annual Chicken Parm Dinner February 9th, 2018

My time on the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department

We took a lot pride in our Annual Chicken Parm Dinner that took place after our April drill. Brother Justin Watrel in front of the Chicken Parm dinner.

Chicken Parm

There was not much left after each dinner.

Everyone always took home dessert.

My life as a Fireman: From the members of the Engine One HHFD to the members of the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department and to all Hasbrouck Heights residents, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

My time on the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department

The Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department at Santa Around Town.