History 1983-1985

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1983

February 18, 1983
An arson fire damaged part of Lawrence Junior High School at 2455 Princeton Pike on Saturday, February 18, 1983. Lawrence Road Fire Co. was dispatched at 10:03 p.m. The fire was set near the rear entrance doors and flames extended into the ceiling and roof area of the building. Slackwood firefighters helped extinguish the blaze, while a Lawrenceville crew stood by at Station 22. During the blaze, Lawrence Road Firefighter Ted Clemen Jr. cut his left hand, and required several stitches to close the wound. The following account was printed in the Lawrence Ledger on Wednesday, February 23, 1983:

“Roofers were working yesterday to repair the damaged roof of part of Lawrence Junior High School following a fire Saturday evening. The fire, which apparently was started on doors at the rear of the building, spread into the building between the ceiling and the roof above two classrooms. Firemen from the Lawrence Road Fire Co., responding to a 10:03 p.m. alarm in the building, arrived about two minutes later and found the hallway in the front of the building full of smoke, according to Lawrence Road Chief Jim Yates. Police at the rear of the building found the doors on fire and put out the flames on the door with a fire extinguisher. With assistance from the Slackwood Fire Co., which was immediately called to the scene, firemen entered the building and found that the fire was burning on the inside of the doors and had spread into the roof area. Firemen had to cut openings from the top of the flat roof in a number of areas to gain access to the fire, according to Yates. The fire was declared under control at 10:24 p.m. but firemen remained at the building to clear the smoke out and conduct salvage operations, the chief said…” (Editor’s Note: Police later arrested a 16-year-old boy and charged the youth with setting the fire, according to a story published in the Lawrence Ledger on March 23, 1983.)

February 28, 1983
At 12:03 a.m. on Monday, February 28, 1983, Lawrence Road firefighters were dispatched to assist Ewing Township firefighters at a double fatal fire on Theresa Street. Engine 22-1 responded to the scene, and Engine 22-2 went to stand by at Station 32. Lawrence Road firefighters did not return to Station 22 until 5 a.m. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Tuesday, March 1, 1983:

“The inferno that killed an elderly couple Sunday night and left their Ewing Manor home a charred shell may have been started by a television set. Dr. Henry J. Parcinski, 74, and his wife, Violet, 70, died on smoke inhalation in the fire at their 12 Theresa Street home, according to autopsy reports. Police say the fire in the balloon-construction old frame house started in the first floor television room on the north side of the house. The floor where the TV had been located was burned through and the first sign of fire was seen in that section of the house. The flames erupted shortly after 11:30 p.m. and an unidentified female motorist who was driving home reported the blaze to a police dispatcher.

“Two Ewing patrolmen refueling their patrol car at the Pennington Road municipal building near Theresa Street spotted the tongues of flames at about the same time. Police arrived on the scene before most of the volunteer firefighters. Several officers manned firehoses while waiting for other volunteers to arrive. Several officers also made unsuccessful attempts to enter the blazing building to rescue to couple. The fire roared out of control for more than an hour. Mattresses and other furniture items still were smoldering late yesterday afternoon. Over 100 pet birds, bred as a hobby by Parcinski in a basement room, also perished in the fire. Firefighters from Ewing's Pennington Road, Prospect Heights, and West Trenton fire companies, along with personnel from Lawrence Road Fire Co., battled the blaze. Pennington Road Firefighters Bob Young and Matt Kalnas were treated for smoke inhalation. Parcinski was president of Mercer County Community College for 17 years...”

August 6, 1983
At 11:15 p.m. on Saturday, August 6, 1983, Station 22 was dispatched to assist the Slackwood Fire Co. at a arson fire in a bathroom at the Eric Theater in the Lawrence Shopping Center. All three engines responded and were on the scene for two hours 15 minutes. The following details were printed in the Trentonian on Sunday, August 7, 1984: “Someone set a fire in the men’s room of a Lawrenceville theater late last night, forcing hundreds to evacuate. Fire reported at the movie house in the Lawrence Shopping Center shortly before 11 p.m. filled the building with smoke during showings of ‘Return of the Jedi’ and ‘War Games.’ Patrons soon realized the smoke wasn’t special effects and filed out orderly when the house lights were turned up in both studios. No one was injured in the evacuation or fire, which burned out of control in the walls of the theater until declared under control about 12:15 a.m. In a successful battle to prevent fire from reaching the ceiling, firefighters from the Lawrenceville, Slackwood and Lawrence Road fire companies confined the fire to the walls between the men’s and women’s rooms. A police sergeant said someone kicked in a wall in the lavatory and started the blaze there with debris and, possible, some kind of flammable liquid...”

September 19, 1983
At 4:02 p.m. on Monday, September 19, 1983, the Lawrence Road Fire Co. was dispatched to assist Station 23 personnel in battling a blaze at TJ’s Restaurant on Main Street. Engines 22-1 and 22-2 responded. Lawrence Road Firefighter John Barone suffered smoke inhalation and was taken by ambulance to Helene Fuld Medical Center. The Trentonian published this story on Tuesday, September 20, 1983:

“Up to 15 people were left homeless yesterday afternoon when a two-alarm fire ripped through the attic of a three-story apartment building and pizzeria. The fire damage to TJ’s Restaurant and Pizzeria in the 2600 block of Main Street was confined to the attic storage area. But some smoke filtered down to the third floor and water reached all floors., forcing the tenants to seek shelter elsewhere and the pizzeria to close for the evening. There are nine apartments in the building.

“Firemen were able to knock down the flames in the attic within minutes of the 3:54 p.m. alarm, according to Richard Hocking, chief of the Lawrenceville Fire Co. Altogether, 60 firemen from Lawrenceville, Slackwood and Lawrence Road fire companies fought the blaze. ‘The firemen made a good stop,’ Hocking said. Hocking ruled the cause of the fire as electrical. Ray Sanfillipo of the Lawrenceville Fire Co. had his ears burned and suffered smoke inhalation while dousing the flames in the attic. Another fireman, whose name was not available, was treated at Helene Fuld Medical Center…”

September 21, 1983
A fierce lumberyard fire broke out in Falls Township, Pa., on Wednesday, September 21, 1983. At 9:35 p.m. Engine 22-2 was dispatched to the scene as part of an LDH task force. The engine did not return to Station 22 until seven hours later. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Thursday, September 22, 1983:

“A three-alarm fire at the Rednor & Kline lumber yard ripped through the company’s 16,000-square-foot building last night, destroying it and all the supplies stored inside. The building, about a quarter-mile south of the Route 1 toll bridge, contained thousands of dollars worth of lumber and paneling. No one was injured in the blaze that required more than 100 firemen and about 35 fire companies to control, a Falls Fire Co. official said. The fire began at about 9:15 p.m. and it was under control about 45 minutes later. Falls Fire Chief Rich Anderson said last night that he did not yet know that cause of the fire, which investigators believe began at the building’s rear entrance.

“Flames from the fire leaped out of the sides of the building and from the roof, which collapsed. ‘The whole building was gone in 10 minutes. The heat was so strong that you could feel it all the way from Route 1,’ said a bystander. Firefighters had a difficult time getting water on the blaze because hydrants were located so far away. Firefighters had to use hydrants by a tavern on Pennsylvania Avenue and by the Elks Hall on Bridge Street, both of which are more than a quarter-mile from the lumber yard. Because of the distance, firefighters could not direct water onto the fire until about 10 p.m., almost a half-hour after they arrived at the scene. They were able to use reserve water in pumper trucks to enable firemen to pull out several propane tanks that were stored just inside the burning building.”

The following letter, dated September 27, 1983, was received from Chief Richard W. Anderson of the Falls Fire Co.: “Dear Chief Yates – I would like to express my sincere thanks on behalf of the entire Falls Fire Co. You and the men who responded to the fire at Rednor & Kline in Falls Township on September 21, 1983, are to be congratulated for an outstanding job. The Mercer County Task Force proved to be of value and I am quite please with the operation. I appreciate all your efforts and hard work in the early morning hours...”

October 3, 1983
Falls Township, Pa., again requested mutual aid from the Lawrence Road Fire Co. on Monday, October 3, 1983, to help battle a blaze at the Fallsington Industrial Park. At 3:10 a.m. Engine 22-2 was dispatched and remained on the job for five hours and 35 minutes. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Tuesday, October 4, 1983: “An early-morning fire that destroyed a plastics warehouse in the Fallsington Industrial Park yesterday is still under investigation by Bucks County fire officials. The warehouse, one of four connected buildings of Tri-Lite Plastics Inc., contained $270,000 worth of plastic products for the manufacturer of fluorescent light covers. Firefighters from more than a dozen companies battled the smoky blaze, which started at midnight. Their efforts stopped the fire from spreading to the company’s three other buildings…”

October 17, 1983
At 12:06 a.m. on Monday, October 17, 1983, the Lawrence Road Fire Co. was dispatched to a house fire at the corner of Cheverly and Albemarle Roads. All three engines responded. Three handlines were placed in service and a 4-inch supply line was laid to a hydrant at the corner of Albemarle and Eggerts Crossing roads. The unoccupied structure sustained heavy damage. Lawrence Road firefighters were on scene for two hours 10 minutes, during which time Engine 21-3 stood by at Station 22.

October 24, 1983
From 10:23 a.m. until 2:23 p.m. on Monday, October 24, 1983, Engine 22-2 covered Station 30 (Falls Fire Co.) in Bucks County, Pa. The reason for the standby is not listed on the incident report but an article published in the Trenton Times shows that scores of Bucks County firefighters were busy that morning battling a multiple-alarm blaze that killed two people in Tullytown. During the stand by, Engine 22-2 was dispatched at about 11:55 a.m. to extinguish a rubbish fire at the Penn Park Apartments in Falls.

October 31, 1983
At 10:36 a.m. on Monday, October 31, 1983, Station 22 was dispatched to assist Slackwood firefighters fight a blaze in the Burger King restaurant on Brunswick Pike. All three engines were in service for 90 minutes.

December 19, 1983
Jay’s Kiddierama toy store in Lawrence Shopping Center was damaged by fire on the night of Monday, December 19, 1983. Lawrence Road firefighters were dispatched at 10:37 p.m. to assist Slackwood Fire Co. and all three engines responded. Lawrence Road firefighters were on scene until 2:47 a.m. and used 800 feet of 4-inch hose and 250 feet of 1.75-inch hose. Fire companies at the scene included all three from Lawrence, all three from Ewing, DeCou Hose and Signal 22. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Tuesday, December 20, 1983:

“The large stuffed animals in the front showroom windows, on display for Christmas shoppers, seemed to be suffocating last night as firefighters battled a smoky fire at Jay’s Kiddierama in the Lawrence Shopping Center. Fire officials were unable to determine last night the cause of the 10:40 p.m. blaze but reported that it started in the back warehouse of the 29,000-square-foot toy store and spread to the building's ceiling. ‘There were toys and lots of flammable things back there,’ said Slackwood Fire Co. Assistant Chief Tom Smires.

“Firefighters from the Slackwood, Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville, and Prospect Heights fire companies poured water through the roof of the building and placed fans in the toy store to clear out the thick smoke. Smires said the fire caused heavy smoke and light water damage to the toy store and damaged much of the inventory. Firefighters had the fire under control in a half-hour but were not able to stop the smoke from spreading to the small shops next door. Some smoke made its way into Etcetera Inc., a car and gift shop, and the Young Ages clothing store.” (Editor's Note: A 19-year-old man was charged with setting this fire after he was arrested for setting a blaze at Toys-R-Us on February 14, 1984.)

1984

January 10, 1984
A fire occurred in the maintenance building of Lawrence High School on Tuesday, January 10, 1984. Lawrence Road Fire Co. was dispatched at 9 p.m. and arrived to find heavy smoke and fire showing. Engines 22-1 and 22-2 responded. Crews from Station 21 were called to assist. The fire, which was determined to be an arson set with gasoline, caused significant damage to the building and destroyed two Ford tractors and a Jacobson tractor.

January 11, 1984
At 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, January 11, 1984, Engine 22-1 was dispatched mutual aid to the scene of a house fire off Elm Ridge Road in Hopewell Township. Engine 22-1’s cascade system was used to fill 28 SCBA bottles. The following story was published in the Trentonian on Thursday, January 12, 1984: “A home worth $200,000 or more was gutted last night in a fierce fire that residents learned about when a flaming light fixture fell out of the ceiling. Hopewell Fire Chief Chico Marciante said the burning ceiling of the Sagbiuen home on Blue Spruce Drive ‘almost caved in on the residents,’ who fled as the light fixture fell and a smoke detector sounded. The fire had apparently been burning in the ceiling of the two-story home for quite some time before it was reported at 6:05 a.m. The blaze raged out of control for 45 minutes and extensively damaged the entire structure. With fire spreading along the roof of the house, officials called in Lawrence Road Fire Co., which had ‘cascade’ equipment.”

February 14, 1984
At 12:03 p.m. on Tuesday, February 14, 1984, Lawrence Road firefighters were dispatched to assist the Lawrenceville Fire Co. at a small fire at the Toys-R-Us store on Route 1. Engine 22-2 responded to the scene. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Wednesday, February 15, 1984: “A 19-year-old man was arrested and charged with arson last night for starting a fire yesterday at Toys-R-Us in Lawrence. Billy Joe Cardona of Joffre Avenue, a retail clerk who has worked at the Toys-R-Us store on Route 1 for the past year and a half, has been charged with aggravated arson in the noon fire, said police Sgt. John Prettyman. About 22 employees and 15 customers were in the store at the time the fire broke out. No one was injured. The ‘suspicious’ noontime blaze broke out in a storage area on the second floor of the two-story structure and set off part of the sprinkler system, which released enough water to contain the fire until the first firefighters arrived, said Chief Dick Hocking of the Lawrenceville Fire Co. Hocking said the fire, extinguished in about 15 minutes, caused no structural damage to the building and closed the store for just over an hour. Police estimated the fire caused about $10,000 worth of fire, smoke and water damage...” This followup was printed in the Trenton Times on Thursday, February 16, 1984: “The 19-year-old man arrested and charged with arson in connection with Tuesday's fire at the Toys-R-Us store was also charged yesterday with arson in the Dec. 19, 1983, fire at Jay's Kiddierama in Lawrence Shopping Center...”

March 28, 1984
A small kitchen fire in a dormitory at Rider College occurred on Wednesday, March 28, 1984. Lawrence Road firefighters were dispatched at 12:33 p.m. and used a smoke ejector to help ventilate the dorm building.

April 30, 1984
At 4:38 p.m. on Monday, April 30, 1984, Lawrence Road firefighters were dispatched to help fight a multi-alarm fire at the Homasote Co. plant on Lower Ferry Road in Ewing Township. The fire was sparked by a buildup of lint in the plant’s dryers and flames involved a section of roof about 50-by-100 feet in size. Because of the day’s high temperatures, several mutual aid companies were called into the scene. The fire was under control about 5 p.m.

July 9, 1984
During the company meeting held on Monday, July 9, 1984, Chief Ted Clemen Jr. reported that the township had approved a new engine for Lawrence Road Fire Co. for $238,000. Also during the meeting it was reported that “the new chief’s car is painted and the old one (the Rabbit) will be left at Pat Kent’s house during the night. Bruce Friedeborn will bring the car to the firehouse everyday…”

September 7, 1984
Lawrence Road and Slackwood firefighters rescued two cats and a dog from a smoky house fire on Friday, September 7, 1984. The blaze at 10 Pin Oak Drive was reported at 11:24 a.m. The fire began in a trash can under a sink and flames extended to nearby cabinets before the blaze was extinguished by firefighters.

September 22, 1984
A fierce blaze destroyed the Trenton Fiber Drum Co. on Saturday, September 22, 1984. Lawrence Road firefighters were dispatched at 4:42 p.m. All three Lawrence Road engines responded and were in service for six hours 20 minutes, during which time Station 22 was covered by engines from Mercer Engine 3 and West Trenton and a ladder tower from Colonial Fire Co. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Sunday, September 23, 1984:

“A five-alarm fire yesterday destroyed a building containing thousands of empty drums and sent flames and billowing black smoke hundreds of feet into the air. Firefighters from three townships battled the blaze at the Trenton Fiber Drum Co. Inc. at 1545 New York Avenue for more than an hour. The fire, which began at 4:40 p.m., caused officials to close Alternate Route 1 from the Brunswick Circle to Slack Avenue. Fire officials feared that the fire was sending toxic fumes into the air. Officials from the Department of Environmental Protection arrived on scene almost immediately to take air and water samples. Officials said preliminary results showed the fire did not emit any toxic fumes into the air or drainage water into the Delaware and Raritan Canal.

“Fire equipment from Lawrence Road, Slackwood, Hamilton, Prospect Heights and West Trenton responded to the blaze, which was declared under control at 5:40 p.m. by fire officials. The cause of the fire is under investigation. James F. Ross, chief of the DEP office of emergency response, said the chemical contents of the barrel cleaning company building were not yet known but described the building as a ‘potpourri of every chemical imaginable.’ Firemen remained on the scene last night to hose down the smoldering remains of the building. A firefighter from the Slackwood Fire Co. was treated for smoke inhalation at Helene Fuld Medical Center and released last night. The company was founded at the turn of the century and produced wooden barrels used for the storage of fish, meat, china, pickles and nails. The original plant was destroyed in the 1930s by a fire, and since 1973 has been reconditioning steels and fiber drums, according to clips in the Trenton Times library...”

This followup story was printed in the Trenton Times on Tuesday, September 25, 1984: “The fire that swept through the Trenton Fiber Drum Co. Saturday apparently was caused by ‘wayward sparks’ from an acetylene torch, Mercer County Fire Marshal George Lenhardt said yesterday. He said it appeared that workers were cutting a vat or tank with the torch Saturday afternoon before they left at around 3 p.m. The fire was reported at 4:40 p.m. ‘We think it was an accident,’ said Slackwood Fire Chief Dale Robbins.”

1985

January 8, 1985
Lawrence Road Firefighter James Yates was injured while fighting a fire in the Meadow Woods apartment complex on Tuesday, January 8, 1985. Lawrence Road Fire Co. was dispatched at 9:56 a.m. and remained on scene with Engines 22-1 and 22-2 until about 1 p.m. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Wednesday, January 9, 1985: “Two teenagers and a firefighters were injured slightly yesterday morning in a three-alarm fire that ripped through a second-floor apartment in the Meadow Woods complex on Lawrenceville Road. Six people were left homeless by the blaze. The fire was reported shortly before 10 a.m. and declared under control about a half-hour later, according to Mercer County Assistant Fire Marshal James Greschak. Greschak said the fire began in the living room of a second-floor apartment when three 15-year-old youths ‘sprayed an aerosol can across a cigarette lighter to create a blowtorch effect, which in turn touched off a Christmas tree.’ Two juveniles were treated for smoke inhalation and released. James Yates, former chief of the Lawrence Road Fire Co., was transported to Hamilton Hospital for injuries suffered when a ceiling fell on him. He was treated and released. The building contained four one-bedroom apartment units. The apartment in which the fire started was gutted, said Dale Robbins, chief of the Slackwood Fire Co. The other upstairs apartment was vacant and sustained fire, smoke and water damage. The two lower apartments sustained water and smoke damage. At least eight fire engines from Slackwood, Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville and Prospect Heights fire companies responded, as did the Lawrence Township First Aid Squad...”

February 22, 1985
At 3:50 a.m. on Friday, February 22, 1985, Engine 22-1 was dispatched to cover Station 32. The engine was later relocated to the scene of a fatal fire. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Saturday, February 23, 1985: “A former National Honor Society student was killed and four Trenton State College students and a firefighter were injured when a ‘hot and furious’ fire ripped through the young men’s apartment early yesterday. About 75 firefighters from four volunteer companies responded to the blaze, which began at 3:56 a.m. in a second-floor apartment at the Rivers Edge Apartments on Country Lane in Ewing. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but officials said it appeared to have started accidentally in a couch in the living room. Ewing police Lt. Thomas Balint said a smoke detector in the apartment had been disconnected by the residents ‘some time ago’ after it had gone off while one of the young men was cooking. Carl Johnson, 24, a project engineer trainee for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, was pronounced dead on arrival at Mercer Medical Center at 4:32 a.m. Mercer County Fire Marshal George Lenhardt said Johnson was sleeping in a back bedroom when the fire broke out and apparently became disoriented trying to find his way out of the smoke-filled apartment. Firefighters discovered Johnson’s body in the bathroom, which is next to the apartment’s entrance. Firefighter Robert Burns of the West Trenton Fire Co. suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation and was treated and released from Helene Fuld Medical Center. Firefighters responded to the fire with about 12 engine and ladder trucks...”

February 24, 1985
Marita’s Cantinia restaurant in Princeton Borough was destroyed by fire on Sunday, February 24, 1985. At 6:22 a.m. the Lawrence Road Fire Co. was dispatched to assist the Princeton Fire Department in battling the blaze. Engines 22-1 and 22-2 responded and were on the scene for about 5.5 hours. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Monday, February 25, 1985:

“An early morning blaze apparently caused by a short circuit extensively damaged Marita’s Cantina Mexican restaurant on Nassau Street yesterday. No one was injured in the blaze. The fire was reported at 6:04 a.m. and declared under control by 7:51 a.m. but firefighters remained at the scene until noon, said Chief Thomas Hagadorn of Princeton Engine 1. ‘The place was gutted. Half the roof is gone and there's a lot of structural damage,’ Hagadorn said. He said there was also heavy smoke and water damage to the two-story brick building located at 138 Nassau Street.

“Mercer County Assistant Fire Marshal James Greschak, who investigated the fire, said it was accidental. ‘I’m sure beyond a reasonable doubt the cause was electrical within some telephone equipment in the rear storage room on the first floor,’ Greschak said. Greschak said the fire damaged the rear storage room and an adjacent kitchen on the first floor, the second floor attic and the roof. He added the first-floor dining area received only smoke and water damage. The fire was reported by a resident on Spring Street, behind the restaurant. Hagadorn said more than 75 firefighters, 12 engines, and three ladder trucks from Princeton Engine 1, Princeton Hook & Ladder Co., and Mercer Engine 3 responded to the blaze. Fire companies from Lawrence Township, Princeton Junction and Kingston assisted…”

March 14, 1985
At 12:57 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, 1985, the Lawrence Road Fire Co. was dispatched to help fight a brush fire off Lawrence Station Road. Lawrence Road firefighters were on the job until 3:30 p.m. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Friday, March 15, 1985: “Wind-whipped flames burned about 50 acres of woodland and brush east of Lawrence Station Road yesterday afternoon, keeping about 75 firefighters busy for more than four hours. Two firefighters were treated at the scene or minor injuries. The fire was quelled before it could get within 200 feet of any building, said Deputy Chief Fred A. Bentley of the Lawrenceville Fire Co. Bentley, who termed the fire accidental, said it jumped across the Amtrak mainline tracks and eventually over municipal boundaries into Hamilton. ‘This is the time of year for brush fires,’ he said. ‘It could have been a discarded cigarette or something. It’s so dry it doesn't take much for it to get going, especially with those winds.’ Unusually dry conditions have caused about 100 woodland fires a week in New Jersey over the past month, state forestry officials said. Bentley said much of the scorched land in Lawrence is the site of the proposed Lawrence Square Village housing development. Ironically, the township planning board Wednesday night gave preliminary approval for the development site over objections by fire officials who say it is too far from their station. Fire five departments from three municipalities chased down yesterday’s flames. Bentley said when the Lawrenceville firefighters reached the scene shortly after 12:30 p.m. he immediately called the other stations for help ‘because we were afraid it would spread to the buildings on Lawrence Station Road and Quakerbridge Road.’ Firefighters equipped with four-wheel drive vehicles attacked the blaze, finally surrounding and extinguishing it shortly before 5 p.m.”

March 18, 1985
Mutual aid to Princeton Township was the assignment when Lawrence Road firefighters were dispatched at 2:33 p.m. on Monday, March 18, 1985. Engine 22-1 responded to the scene of a fire at the Tenacre Foundation on Great Road, while Engine 22-2 was sent to stand by at Princeton Engine 1’s firehouse. According to the incident report, Lawrence Road firefighters used axes, pike poles and their K-12 saw. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Tuesday, March 19, 1985: “At least 30 people were left homeless yesterday when an electrical fire broke out inside an employee dormitory at the Tenacre Foundation, an elderly care facility on Great Road. The fire was confined to the employee dormitory, which is some distance from the nursing home, and did not affect any of the elderly residents. Only one injury was reported and fire officials said only two people were inside the dormitory when the fire alarm sounded at 2:24 p.m., according to Princeton Fire Chief Thomas Hagadorn. Princeton Fire Capt. Richard McKee was treated for smoke inhalation at The Medical Center at Princeton and was released. The fire was caused when electrical wires shorted-out. The fire broke out in a crawl space between the ceiling of a second-floor bedroom and the roof. The fire was declared under control by 3:30 p.m. Fire officials said at least six o the 30 rooms in the two-story, wood-frame dormitory sustained heavy fire and smoke damage. About 55 firefighters from Princeton's volunteer fire companies battled to blaze for about one hour.”

March 19, 1985
At 3:02 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, 1985, Lawrence Road firefighters responded with Engine 22-3 to help fight a large brush fire on Lawrence Station Road. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Wednesday, March 20, 1985: “Police and fire officials are probing the cause of a late afternoon brush fire yesterday that has been termed ‘suspicious,’ said Deputy Chief Fred Bentley of the Lawrenceville Fire Co. The 2:30 p.m. blaze apparently started in a field about 50 feet off Lawrence Station Road and, according to Bentley, came within 25 feet of the Cooper Pest Control Co. building, which stores toxic substances used in its business. Tindall’s Grain Storage Co. was nearly touched by the flames. Bentley said the Lawrenceville Fire Co. and township police are investigating but refused to say if there were any suspects. ‘This is the fifth suspicious fire we’ve had in the past week,’ Bentley noted. ‘That’s just too many for it to be a coincidence.’ Lawrence Road, Slackwood, Mercerville and West Windsor fire companies assisted in fighting the blaze, which was under control by 4:45 p.m., Bentley said.”

March 22, 1985
Lawrence Road Fire Co. Capt. Tim Kasony Sr. was involved in a minor accident with his personal vehicle while responding to the firehouse for a working fire at Notre Dame High School on Friday, March 22, 1985, and Firefighter Allen Laird was injured while battling the blaze. The alarm was transmitted at 5:28 p.m. and all three Engines from Station 22 responded. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Saturday, March 23, 1985: “A fire broke out yesterday at Notre Dame High School several hours after classes had been dismissed. The blaze caused extensive damage to the auditorium stage area. The cause of the fire at the Lawrenceville Road school has not yet been determined, said police Detective David Burns. Seven members of the janitorial crew who were inside the school when the fire broke out escaped unhurt. Lawrence Road Firefighter Allen Laird, injured during the fire, was treated at Helene Fuld Medical Center for a leg injury and was released. The fire, which forced the closing of Lawrenceville Road near the school for about an hour, was reported at 5:25 p.m. by township Patrolman Jim Kelly, who was en route to police headquarters. Flames were shooting out the auditorium windows when firefighters arrived, according to Lawrence Road Fire Chief Ted Clemen Jr. The fire, which damaged the stage area and filled the left wing of the school with smoke, was under control in about 15 minutes, Clemen said. Props used for the school's theater production of `West Side Story' were destroyed. Fire apparatus already was en route to Notre Dame when several groups of students, who were leaving the grounds after athletic practice, spotted the flames shooting from the auditorium. Firefighters from Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville and Slackwood battled the blaze. The Lawrence First Aid Squad also was at the scene. While en route to the fire, Lawrence Road Firefighter Tim Kasony Sr., 29, and his daughter, Kelly, 6, were injured slightly in a car accident on Gainsboro Road, officials said.”

April 18, 1985
A general alarm blaze involving railroad ties broke out in Hamilton Township on Thursday, April 18, 1985. At 9:17 p.m., Engines 22-1 and 22-2 were dispatched to the fireground to assist. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Friday, April 19, 1985: “About 300 firefighters battled a stubborn fire last night that broke out on a four-acre tract of land along Industrial Drive that is used for the storage of railroad ties. The blaze burned out of control for about 2.5 hours. Firefighters from about 30 Mercer County fire companies and several Burlington County stations converged on the scene to battle the fire that sent clouds of dark smoke billowing into the night sky. The flames could be seen from Route 1. Whitehead Road was closed to traffic until the fire was brought under control. The fire was reported at about 8:45 p.m. and was not declared under control until about 11:15 p.m., according to District 4 Chief Frank Gunson. Fire officials said the railroad ties are soaked with creosote, a chemical used to prevent the wood from rotting. Fire officials said they were told by Department of Environmental Protection officials that tests showed the fire was not creating a serious health hazard. DEP officials were also testing the run-off water for possible contamination. Because of the possibility of health hazards, firefighters were ordered to wear portable breathing apparatus. Firefighters dug trenches under railroad tracks on the Amtrak mainline in order to pump water from Whitehead Lake and a retention pond located behind the Amtrak mainline. Some fire apparatus was sent to a wooded area near several houses that face Sweetbriar Avenue as a precautionary measure...”

June 19, 1985
A cargo plane crashed in Ewing Township on the morning of Wednesday, June 19, 1985. From 7:17 a.m. until 10 a.m. Engine 22-1 covered Station 32 while Pennington Road firefighters were committed at the crash scene. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Thursday, June 20, 1985:

“A twin-engine cargo plane crashed in flames in a soybean field shortly after takeoff from the Mercer County Airport yesterday, leaving two Rhode Island men piloting the craft seriously injured. The Convair 240 cargo plane lost power in its left engine after taking off at 7:01 a.m. and crashed in the state-owned Knight Farm property in West Trenton. The plane broke in half and the left wing sheared off on impact. The instrument panel of the plane was among the debris scattered around the plane, which came to rest almost on its side. The plane’s co-pilot was flown by state police helicopter to the Mercer Medical Center, where he was listed last night in serious but stable condition. Both legs, his spine and pelvis were fractured and he suffered a shoulder injury. The pilot was taken by ambulance to Helene Fuld Medical Center, where he was listed in guarded condition after surgery for fractures of both legs. The left engine exploded just after takeoff.

“The airport tower saw the explosion and realized the plane could not climb. The pilot radioed permission to make an emergency landing but could not return. David Schino, deputy chief of the West Trenton Fire Co., who was on his way to the firehouse about 7 a.m., said, ‘I saw the plane in the air. It had only one engine running, that was for sure. Once it left the runway, it made a left-hand turn before it went down.’ At 7:10 a.m. when he arrived at the crash site about two miles from the airport, Patrolman Anthony DeAngelo of the Mercer Airport police and fire department said ‘smoke was coming out of the plane’ and the ‘entire body’ of the aircraft was engulfed in flames. The fire was under control within ‘one or two minutes’ after airport firefighters began extinguishing the blaze with foam, he said. According to Lt. Thomas Balint, spokesman for Ewing police, it took rescue workers 1.5 hours to get the co-pilot out of the plane and 40 minutes to remove the pilot...”

August 1, 1985
At 2:44 p.m. on Thursday, August 1, 1985, Lawrence Road firefighters were dispatched to help Slackwood Fire Co. extinguish a fire in the snack bar at the vacant drive-in theater on Brunswick Pike. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Friday, August 2, 1985: “A township youth was arrested on charges that he set fire yesterday afternoon to an abandoned concession stand at the now defunct Lawrenceville Drive-In on Alternate Route 1, police said. The youth was charged with arson and released to the custody of his parents…”

October 14, 1985
During the company meeting held on Monday, October 14, 1985, Chief Ted Clemen Jr. reported that Engine 22-3, the 1964 Maxim, had been sold for $10,000.

November 9, 1985
At 3:27 a.m. on Saturday, November 9, 1985, Lawrence Road firefighters were dispatched mutual aid to Ewing Township to help combat a blaze in the Capitol Plaza Shopping Center. They were on the job almost four hours. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Sunday, November 10, 1985:
“Fire officials last night said they have not yet determined the cause of an early-morning fire yesterday which damaged seven stores in the Capitol Plaza Shopping Center on Olden Avenue. The fire, which began in the Father and Son furniture store, caused heavy damage to the store. Six adjoining stores were also damaged. Fire officials remained at the scene for about seven hours following the 3:19 a.m. blaze, said John Bozek, chief of the Prospect Heights Fire Co. No injuries were reported. Officer John Monte of the Ewing police was on routine patrol when he spotted smoke and flames coming from the windows of the furniture store's showroom. More than 100 firefighters from eight area fire companies responded to the blaze, which was declared under control at 4:18 a.m., said Bill Bennett, assistant chief of Prospect Heights.

“The fire began in the rear of Father and Son. Bennett said the fire destroyed all of the contents of the storeroom and caused severe smoke and water damage to most of the furniture in the showroom. The Swift Kick Show Co. store, adjoining the furniture store on the left, suffered heavy smoke and water and minor fire damage, Bozek said. The Fashion Bug clothing store, located on the right side of the furniture store, suffered very heavy interior smoke and water damage and damage to the roof, Bennett said. The Slackwood, Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville, Hamilton and Colonial fire companies responded to the fire...”

December 17, 1985
A working fire at 22 Emden Avenue was reported to Lawrence Road firefighters at 1:53 p.m. on Tuesday, December 17, 1985. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Wednesday, December 18, 1985: “A two-story duplex on Emden Avenue was heavily damaged yesterday by a fire started by two children who were playing with matches in a clothes closet, according to the chief of Lawrence Road Fire Co. Residents of the two apartments in the duplex escaped the blazing building without injury. But two firefighters from the fire company were treated by first aid crews at the scene for burns on their ears. The fire prevented an unidentified tenant from escaping down the stairway and forced him to jump to safety from a second-floor balcony, according to Chief Ted Clemen Jr. Clemen said the fire, which was reported just before 2 p.m., began in a first-floor closet and quickly spread to the upstairs apartment before being brought under control 45 minutes later. ‘The kids told police they were playing in the closet with matches and the clothes caught on fire,’ said Clemen. Assisting were firefighters from the Slackwood, Lawrenceville, and Pennington Road fire companies, Clemen said.”

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