ROBERT L. "BOB" THOMAS was born in Macon, Georgia on March 26, 1918 to Sol and Ida Thomas. The 1940 Camden City Directory shows him living at 1180 Penn Street. He had moved to 38 Branch Village by 1943. 

Robert L. Thomas was certified by Civil Service for the fire department on December 15, 1944. He had been in the United States Navy since June 6, 1944, and was not discharged until November 28, 1945. He was scheduled for work with the Camden Fire Department on March 26, 1946. Assigned to Engine Company No. 1 at 409 Pine Street, on April 1, 1946, he reported for duty on April 6. The 1947 Camden City Directory states that he was then living with his wife Evelyn at 38 Branch Village. Robert Thomas transferred to Engine Company No. 8 at 619 Kaighn Avenue on December 4, 1953.

Back trouble and diabetes which both manifested in 1969 caused Robert L. Thomas to retire on full pension on December 1, 1971. He passed away on June 13, 2009.  

Circa 1949- Engine Company 1, wagon and pumper at front of quarters, South 4th & Pine Streets, South Camden. From left: Firemen Alfred Green, Fred Henderson, Charlie Cook, Leroy Hatchett, Robert Thomas, Andrew Robinson, James Richardson, Eugene Alston, James Clinton, Captains Jesse Jones and Raymond Amos.

Bob Thomas
Engine Company 1
with burnt hose lengths
after a spectacular
Greater Alarm Fire

Photo By
Bob Bartosz

Click on Image to Enlarge


Camden Courier-Post
April 28, 1962

HEAVY BLACK SMOKE pours from a vacant factory and warehouse building formerly owned by the Fuller Brush Company at 6th Street and Atlantic Avenue this morning as a three alarm lire destroyed the structure. The amount of the loss has not been determined.

Camden Courier-Post * April 28, 1962


John Gaffney Sr. - Robert Thomas - Edward MacDowell - Giant Tiger - Philip Farrow
Donald Fuhrer - Modern Hard Chrome aka SL Surface Technologies
Engine Company 8 - Engine Company 6 - South 6th Street - Atlantic Avenue

Camden Courier-Post - June 14, 2009

THOMAS, Robert L. Of Camden, he passed on June 13, 2009, at the age of 91. 
One of the first Black Firefighters in Camden, he served from 1946-1971. 
He is survived by his daughter, Arneatha Thomas, niece and nephew, Algiers 
and Ron Holmes who were his caregivers, sisters-in law, Rhonda Scott, 
Ethel Thomas El, and Alice Scott, other relatives and friends. Service 11AM Friday at CARL MILLER FUNERAL HOME, 831 Carl Miller Blvd., Camden, 
where friends may call after 9AM. Interment Sunset Memorial Park. 
A public viewing will be held Thursday 6-8pm at the funeral home.