History 1991-1992

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1991

January 23, 1991
At 5:56 a.m. on Wednesday, January 23, 1991, Engine 22-1 was dispatched mutual aid to Hopewell Borough for cascade duties at a fire on Railroad Place. Engine 22-1’s cascade system was used to fill about 15 SCBA bottles. Lawrence Road firefighters also assisted in salvage and overhaul. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Thursday, January 24, 1991:


“A huge fire roared through a business in the borough’s industrial district early yesterday, and the local fire chief said poor water pressure hindered firefighters as they battled the blaze for more than two hours. The Creative Classics Co. was a ‘total loss’ after it was engulfed by the six-alarm blaze, police said. Although estimates of damage were not available, Hopewell Fire Chief John Novak said the Railroad Place building was probably worth about $500,000 to $600,000. ‘It was a story-and-a-half building, about 500 feet long, that was more or less storage of cardboard and knick-knacks,’ he said. Novak said the blaze was first reported about 3:30 a.m. and flames shot 50 to 60 feet into the air at times. ‘The fire started at one end, then spread and went through the whole building,’ Novak said. ‘It was a wood-framed building and it was very hot.’

“Ten fire companies, including units from Pennington, West Trenton and Montgomery, and about 60 firefighters responded to the scene. Novak said the companies ran into trouble when several fire hydrants near the building would not work after they had been hooked up to fire equipment. ‘We had a couple of hydrants that were bad and some that went bad during the course of the fire. We had to run a relay hose down to other hydrants,’ Novak said. As firefighters were doing that, the flames spread to the roof of the structure, he said. The flames continued to spread and fire chiefs began pulling firefighters out of the building for safety reasons, Novak said. Because of the low water supply, Novak said, the companies had to wait until aerial apparatus was taken to the scene to attack the fire from above. ‘We couldn’t really start knocking it down until the aerials got there,’ he said. The fire was declared under control about 6 a.m....”

February 21, 1991
At 9:16 p.m. on Thursday, February 21, 1991, Station 22 was dispatched mutual aid to Hopewell Borough for a general alarm fire at Van Doren lumberyard. Engines 22-1 and 22-3 responded. Lawrence Road firefighters laid 1,000 feet of 5-inch hose, participated in fire suppression activities, and used their cascade system to fill bottles on the scene. Lawrence Road firefighters did not return to Station 22 until 3:50 a.m. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Friday, February 22, 1991:

“A 10-alarm fire suspected to have been started by arson destroyed three large storage buildings at the J.C. Van Doren & Sons lumber yard and spread to nearby stacks of lumber, turning the one-acre yard into a sea of flame last night. No injuries were reported. More than 150 firefighters responded to the alarm at 8:38 p.m. after the fire broke out in a 30-by-40 foot lean-to type storage shed near two houses on Model Avenue, according to police Lt. Michael Chipowski. Fire Chief John Novak of the Hopewell Fire Department said arson is suspected because there was no likely source of ignition in the shed.

“The fire is the third suspicious fire to have destroyed buildings in the borough and Hopewell Township in the last two months. ‘I think we have a fire bug around here,’ said Barbara Edling, 30, of Vorhees Avenue, who reported the fire after he mother-in-law spotted the blaze while walking her dog. ‘She came in yelling, “The lumber yard is on fire,” ‘ Barbara Edling said. After calling firefighters, Edling said she ran out to see the fire. ‘There was a tremendous glow about 50 feet in the air. It was really blazing,’ Edling said. Fire officials said the blaze quickly spread from the first shed to a 30-by-50 foot masonry storage building and then to a smaller building behind that one. All of the buildings were filled with lumber. A house near the first shed that burned was damaged slightly when flames from the shed flared across a 15-foot gap and licked its side. The tenants there, Bob and Cookie Jones, escaped after their dogs started barking, alerting them of the fire...” (Editor’s Note: According to a story printed in the Trenton Times on Saturday, February 23, 1991: “More than 300 firefighters from 29 area fire companies responded to the blaze…”)

March 9, 1991
At 11:22 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, 1991, Engine 22-1 was dispatched mutual aid for cascade duties at a fire at 2456 Pennington Road in Hopewell Township. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Monday, March 11, 1991:

“Two firefighters braved thick smoke to rescue a man from his burning apartment on Pennington Road late Saturday but the victim remained in critical condition yesterday. No one else was injured in the fire, which started when sparks from a first-floor fireplace got into a wall through cracks in the mortar of the chimney, according to county Fire Marshal George Lenhardt. Peter Calibrese, 41, was unconscious on the floor of a third-floor bedroom at 2456 Pennington Road when volunteer firefighters John Stewart and Thomas Blackwell of the Pennington Fire Co. climbed past burning rooms on the lower two floors to reach him, said Pennington Chief Gene Schooley. Calibrese suffered smoke inhalation, respiratory burns and a head injury, which may have resulted from a fall after he was overcome by the smoke. He was listed in critical condition last night after undergoing surgery at The Medical Center at Princeton.

“As Stewart, Blackwell and several other firefighters carried Calibrese out of the apartment, the warning buzzer of Stewart’s air tank was sounding. Stewart looked relieved after helping place the victim on a stretcher. ‘It’s lucky I found him then, because I was out of air,’ Stewart said. As he struggled to regain his breath, he watched the paramedics assisting Calibrese. ‘It feels so good,’ he said. The fire was reported about 11 p.m. by a second resident of the apartment, who escaped and called for help from a nearby house.

“The fire spread from a first-floor living room to a second-floor bedroom, Schooley said. He said there were heavy flames in both of those rooms when firefighters arrived. There was thick smoke and intense heat through most of the apartment. Firefighters were told there might be a man on the second floor, Schooley said. But after an unsuccessful search there, Stewart and Blackwell continued upstairs. ‘The guys did a great job,’ Schooley said. ‘They had to go above the tow fire rooms and through very thick smoke to find the victim. I was really proud of them.’ Firefighters from the Hopewell, Pennington, Union, West Trenton, and Lawrence Road fire companies brought the fire under control within about 20 minutes, Schooley said...”

March 27, 1991
At a special meeting on Wednesday, March 27, 1991, the members of the Lawrence Road Fire Co. decided to sell the firehouse to Lawrence Township. The document acknowledging the transaction reads: “Resolved, that the Lawrence Road Fire Co., a not-for-profit corporation of the State of New Jersey, (`Corporation') be and is hereby authorized to convey to the Township of Lawrence, a municipal corporation of the State of New Jersey, P.O. Box 6006, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, (`Township') property known and designated as Lots 1, 2, 3 and 21A, Bock 226, on the tax map of Lawrence Township, Mercer County, New Jersey, (`Property') in consideration of the satisfaction by the Township of a mortgage obligation from the Corporation to National Community Bank of New Jersey, which obligation had an original principal amount of $325,000 and was created on January 13, 1989. Further resolved, that the legal ownership of the Property shall revert to the Corporation immediately upon the retirement or satisfaction of the bond(s) being issued by the Township to effect the financing for the satisfaction of the aforesaid mortgage obligation, which bond(s) shall have a term of no more that twenty years from the date of the transfer of title to the Property from the Corporation to the Township. Further resolved, that notwithstanding the conveyance of the Property to the Township, the Corporation shall maintain the full use, enjoyment and possession of the Property during the period of the Township's ownership of the Property. Further resolved, that the officers of the Corporation be and are hereby authorized to execute and deliver any deeds, affidavits of title and other documents which may be reasonably required by the Township. Further resolved, that the officers of the Corporation hereby are authorized and empowered to execute and deliver such documents, instruments and papers and to take any and all other action as they or any of them may deem necessary or appropriate for the purpose of carrying out the intent of the foregoing resolutions; and that the authority of such officers to execute and deliver any such documents, instruments and papers and to take any such other action shall be conclusively evidenced by their execution and delivery thereof of their taking thereof. I, James Pidcock, secretary of Lawrence Road Fire Co., a not-for-profit corporation of New Jersey, certify that the foregoing is a true copy of a resolution as it appears in the records of the Corporation and as was duly and legally adopted by a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Corporation called for this purpose ad held on March 27, 1991, pursuant to and in accordance with the Certificate of Incorporation and By-Laws thereof; that it has not been modified, amended or rescinded and is in full force and effect as of the date hereof. Dated: March 28, 1991.”

June 27, 1991
At 3:22 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, 1991, Lawrence Road Fire Co. was dispatched to assist Hopewell firefighters at a structure fire on Crusher Road. Engine 22-1 responded and its cascade system was used to fill 35 SCBA bottles. A photograph showing Lawrence Road Chief Patrick Quill and Firefighter James Pidcock at the fire was published in the Trenton Times on Friday, June 28, 1991, along with this story:

“A fire that apparently was caused by a faulty electrical circuit destroyed a large home on Crusher Road yesterday afternoon. No injuries were reported. With township police investigating a series of five arson fire this year, four of which occurred on Thursdays, Lt. Michael Chipowski initially feared that an arsonist had struck again as he drove to the fire site. But later he said, ‘We’re leaning toward accidental causes on this one. We haven’t concluded the investigation but preliminarily we’re leaning in that direction. It’s just a coincidence that it was on a Thursday like the others. No one was home when the fire began about 3 p.m. Fire officials said both floors of the house were filled with flames at one end when they arrived. ‘There were flames coming out of the windows and shooting up the side of the house over the roof,’ said Joe Toth II, foreman for the Hopewell Fire Department. ‘The heat was really intense. There was a plastic sidewalk light about 20 feet from the house that was melted to nothing.’ Within about 20 minutes the fire was brought under control by firefighters from the Hopewell, Pennington, Union, Lawrence Road and Montgomery No. 2 fire companies. But Toth said the contents of half of the house were consumed by flames and the contents of the other half were heavily damaged by heat and smoke. The fire appears to have started inside a living room of the house near an electrical outlet where a lamp was plugged in...”

August 27, 1991
At 2:31 p.m. on Tuesday, August 27, 1991, Station 22 personnel were dispatched to assist Lawrenceville firefighters in extinguishing a blaze on the roof of a Bristol-Myers Squibb building. Engines 22-1 and 22-3 responded. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Wednesday, August 28, 1991: “Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire that started around a heat vent on the roof of a building at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. complex on Lawrenceville-Princeton Road yesterday afternoon. No injuries were reported. The fire began about 2:30 p.m. on the roof of the central utilities building, said Lawrenceville Fire Co. Deputy Chief Fred Bentley. An exhaust vent protruding from the roof overheated, igniting a wooden frame around the top of the vent and a small area of rubber roofing. The vent was heated by exhaust from the company’s emergency generator, which had been running for about seven hours as part of the company’s monthly system maintenance routine, Bentley said. The burning rubber produced thick smoke and employees inside the building were evacuated as members of the Lawrenceville and Lawrence Road fire companies fought the fire. Members of an in-house fire brigade also assisted in the effort. The fire was extinguished within a half-hour and caused only minor damage, Bentley said.”

September 11, 1991
At 2 a.m. on Wednesday, September 11, 1991, Lawrence Road Fire Co. was dispatched to assist at another structure fire in Hopewell Township. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Thursday, September 12, 1991: An early morning fire at an office condominium building yesterday was labeled suspicious by police who are studying charred material samples for evidence of arson. There were no injuries in the 1:25 a.m. blaze on the side of the unoccupied offices at 83 Princeton Avenue, according to police Lt. Michael Chipowski. The fire was reported by a passing motorist and was extinguished in about 30 minutes by firefighters. ‘The fire started in an area where no accidental cause could be found. No electricity, for example,’ Chipowski said. Hopewell police have been investigating a series of arsons in the Hopewell Borough area for months. The fires, including the massive Van Doren & Sons lumberyard blaze on February 21, have resulted in an estimated $3 million worth of damage...”

December 5, 1991
At 3:16 a.m. on Thursday, December 5, 1991, the Lawrence Road Fire Co. was requested to respond to Eggerts Crossing Road with ground ladders to assist police in capturing a car thief hiding on a roof. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Friday, December 6, 1991: “Nature gave patrolmen an unexpected helping hand early yesterday when a light dusting of snow allowed officers to track and arrest a suspected car thief. ‘They followed his tracks in the snow for about a mile,’ said police spokesman Detective Ray Britton. ‘When the tracks stopped, they found him.’ Police arrested a 16-year-old from Trenton, who was hiding on the roof of the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office on Eggerts Crossing Road, near the National Guard Armory. The footprints stopped at the building, so officers knew the suspect was either inside of hiding on the roof, police said. After checking the building, the officers determined he was on the roof. Fire crews brought a ladder to the scene and patrolmen scrambled up to the roof, taking the youth into custody without incident at about 3:30 a.m. Events began about an hour earlier when patrolmen were called to Azalea Court in the Society Hill neighborhood to investigate a report that a car had been stolen there. When patrolmen arrived they saw the car leave the area. The officers followed the stolen car but the driver refused to pull over and continued south on Route 206 with patrolmen in pursuit. Near the entrance to Rider College, the car crossed into the northbound lane of Route 206 and crashed into an abutment at Wenczel Bridge. The driver immediately jumped out and ran away. Using the fleeing driver’s footprints as a guide, officers followed the tracks...”

1992

January 30, 1992
At 1:02 p.m. on Thursday, January 30, 1992, Engine 22-1 was dispatched mutual aid to Hopewell Township to a barn fire on Carter Road. Engine 22-1 assisted with its onboard cascade unit and also drafted as part of a water relay. Engine 22-1 did not return to Station 22 until 6:15 p.m. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Friday, January 31, 1992: “Hopewell Township officials are investigating the cause of an early afternoon fire that destroyed a large barn on the old St. Michael’s Orphanage property yesterday but they said that, at first glance, arson does not appear to be the cause. The fire broke out shortly after noon in a large barn on the 360-acre property off Hopewell-Princeton Road that is now run as a hay farm. The farm operator, Frank Klevve, who rents the property from the Catholic Diocese of Trenton, noticed flames shooting from the barn where he stores his equipment and hay. Volunteers from Hopewell, Pennington and union fire companies battled the blaze for about an hour before putting it out shortly after 1 p.m. Firefighters were hindered by live electrical wires that dropped outside the barn as a result of the fire, according to Hopewell Fire Chief Larry Omland. Omland said the fire appeared to be caused by an electrical short. ‘There was a tractor-trailer plugged into an electrical outlet in the barn and that’s probably where it started,’ he said. Omland said the fire started on the left side of the 100-by-40 foot barn and spread to the hay storage area....” (Editor’s Note: Only minutes after returning from Hopewell Township, several Lawrence Road firefighters responded with the Lawrence First Aid Squad’s Rescue 129 to a two-car collision that occurred on Route 1 near New York Avenue in Trenton when one of the cars entered the highway traveling in the wrong direction. A photo that appeared in the Trenton Times shows Lawrence Road firefighters operating at the scene.)

February 24, 1992
During the meeting held on Monday, February 24, 1992, it was reported that the Lawrence First Aid Squad had donated an old ambulance to the fire company. The ambulance, which was remodeled, painted red and lettered, became Special Services 22.

April 4, 1992
At 9:07 p.m. on Monday, April 4, 1992, Lawrence Road firefighters were dispatched to help search Duck Island in Hamilton Township for a missing Alzheimer’s patient. Specials Services 22 responded and Lawrence Road firefighters searched through woods along a railroad line and through a cemetery before the man was found. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Tuesday, May 5, 1992:

“A massive search last night for a 72-year-old Alzheimer’s patient believed lost on Duck Island had a happy ending when the missing man was found walking on Lalor Street after 10 p.m., police said. The search for Norbert Musinsky of Deutz Avenue in Hamilton involved scores of rescue workers, boat crews, tracking dogs and two state police helicopters. While rescuers trudged through dense underbrush on the Delaware River peninsula, however, Musinsky was found walking on Lalor Street by two men who were on their way to assist in the search. The men, whose names were not available, had heard a description of Musinsky on a police band radio and recognized him because of the burgundy sweatsuit and black slippers he was wearing, said police Sgt. Richard Burnett. The pair took Musinsky into Gallagher’s Pub in the 700 block of Lalor Street and called police.

“Township Patrolman Anthony Battaglia picked Musinsky up at the bar and returned him safely to the home he shares with his daughter. Firefighters assembled along Lalor Street to assist in the search cheered as the announcement came over their radios that the missing man had been found and was safe. Musinsky, who is a diabetic, had walked away from his home about 3 p.m. His daughter called police shortly before 6 p.m. to report that he was missing, said patrolman Jeff Nemes. Nemes said he and the daughter did a quick search near the Delaware River and learned that Musinsky had been seen about 5:45 p.m. walking south on Lamberton Road near the Ross Marine Service. Firefighters then were called to assist in the search. Although Musinsky is familiar with Duck Island, police feared he might have become disoriented because of his medical condition. Searchers said they also worried that Musinsky might go into diabetic shock or succumb to hypothermia. Temperatures were expected to drop into the mid-40s overnight and Musinsky was not dressed for cold weather.

“Firefighters began assembling along Lamberton Road shortly after 7 p.m. Numerous Mercer County fire companies and rescue squads participated in the search, as did several fire companies from Burlington County. Searchers carrying flashlights lined up at short intervals along the dirt and gravel access roads that crisscrossed Duck Island. They then marched in lines into the thick and often marshy underbrush that covers the area. Meanwhile, two state police helicopters circled overhead, scanning spotlights over the ground, and boat crews scoured the river bank. More than 250 rescuers joined in the search before Musinsky was found. Before he left his home, Musinsky had asked his daughter if he could go for a walk, police said. The daughter told him not to go, but he went anyway...”

April 7, 1992
A stubborn blaze heavily damaged the three-story home at 644 Rosedale Road on Tuesday, April 7, 1992. Station 22 was dispatched at 11:21 a.m. and responded with Engines 22-1 and 22-3 and Special Services 22. The fire was started by a painter’s torch. Lawrence Road firefighters assisted in fire suppression, ventilation, water supply, salvage and overhaul. Lawrence Road firefighters did not return to Station 22 until 4 p.m. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Wednesday, April 8, 1992:

“A painter using a blowtorch to remove old paint accidentally sparked a roof fire yesterday that badly damaged a $1.9 million estate on Rosedale Road. The brick Colonial-style home in the 600 block of Rosedale Road near the Princeton Township border is owned by David Schafer, 52. Schafer was at work when the fire broke out. His wife, Elizabeth, 30, and their children, Erik and Kate, both 11, also were not home when the fire started. ‘I can’t believe this is happening. It’s like something you see in the movies. I feel absolutely helpless,’ said Schafer. Several firefighters suffered minor heat exhaustion fighting the blaze. No other injuries were reported, said Lawrenceville Fire Co. Kevin Reading. ‘You don’t appreciate what firefighters, especially volunteers, go through until you see something like this,’ Schafer said.

“Elizabeth Schafer returned home about 12:45 p.m. to find the devastation. Sobbing and grief-stricken, she nonetheless managed to regain composure and shook hands with several firefighters, thanking them for their efforts. ‘Her taking time to do that meant a lot,’ said one firefighter. Edward Burke, a self-employed painter the Schafers had hired, was working with a blowtorch around the outside overhang on the south side of the home to remove paint yesterday morning. About 10:30 a.m., Burke left because of a light rain. Officials said a spark from the blowtorch smoldered under the slate roof until smoke detectors on the partial third floor of the home were triggered and a fire alarm alerted Lawrence police to the blaze. Burke is a former Trenton firefighter. On Sept. 10, 1966, he was seriously injured when two city fire engines racing to a two-alarm fire collided at Chambers Street and Hamilton Avenue. One firefighter was killed and seven others, including Burke, were injured. As a result of his injuries Burke was forced to retire as a firefighter. He then opened a paint business.

“Yesterday, township Patrolman Don Smith was the first to arrive at the Schafer home after the alarm was called in and said white smoke was billowing from the top of the roof on the south side. When firefighters arrived and cut openings in the roof, tall flames shot skyward. Officials said the blaze caused an estimated $1 million in damage to the home and its contents, which included Oriental rugs and antiques. Reading said firefighters carried out paintings and threw tarps everywhere inside in an effort to save the family’s belongings. The fire’s damage was extensive throughout the third floor, while some smoke and water damage was done on the south side of the home, Reading said. The first and second floors on the north side sustained very little damage, he said. The south side, where the fire started, was an addition the Schafers had constructed, and caused problems to firefighters, Reading said. ‘We had a lot of drop fires in that section -- fire would suddenly come from a wall,’ he said. About 60 firefighters from all three township fire companies and fire companies from Princeton, Pennington, Hopewell, Princeton Junction and Ewing fought the fire...”

July 7, 1992

At 3:24 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7, 1992, Station 22 was dispatched mutual aid to Ewing Township to stand by at Trenton State College during a hazardous materials incident. Lawrence Road firefighters were in service until 4:49 p.m. The incident involved a spill of sulfuric acid in the Crowell Hall science building.

July 8, 1992
A dog was rescued and a cat died in a house fire at 64 Betts Avenue on Wednesday, July 8, 1992. Lawrence Road Fire Co. was dispatched to assist Slackwood firefighters at 4:36 p.m. The first floor of the dwelling was heavily-involved when firefighters arrived. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Thursday, July 9, 1992: “A fire quickly swept through a small two-story house on Betts Avenue yesterday afternoon, destroying its contents. No one was injured in the blaze. The tenants were not home when the fire began, said Slackwood Fire Chief Dale Robbins. A mailman spotted the fire about 4:35 p.m. and called for help, neighbors said. The cause of the fire had no been determined last night, Robbins said. Firefighters rescued the family dog from a cellar of the house about 20 minutes after they arrived, but a cat died in the blaze, Robbins said. The dog apparently inhaled smoke but was recovering. A neighbor, Michele Ruzck, said, ‘I was eating dinner and I smelled smoke. I went outside and the front windows of the house were popping out. The flames were shooting out and the roof was on fire.’ Two neighbors, Bill McMullen and his wife, Kelly, said firefighters arrived within five minutes after the fire was spotted. ‘There were really fast,’ said Bill McMullen. ‘God forbid it ever happens, but it’s nice to know the service is there.’ Robbins said it took about half-an-hour to completely control the fire. ‘When my men went in, they took a hoseline right through and there was fire throughout the house.’ The fire apparently started in a front living room of the house...” (Editor’s Note: According to a story published in the Trenton Times on Saturday, July 11, 1992, the blaze was sparked by a short-circuit of an extension cord.)

August 11, 1992
At 3:44 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11, 1992, Station 22 firefighters were dispatched to assist the Slackwood Fire Co. a blaze in the residence at 702 Mayflower Avenue. One woman was transported to the hospital with smoke inhalation. Lawrence Road crews were on scene until 4:51 p.m. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Wednesday, August 12, 1992: “A 68-year-old woman was hospitalized with minor smoke inhalation after she tried to put out a fire in the bedroom of her home on Mayflower Avenue yesterday afternoon. Joan VanHorn was in the dining area of her ranch-style home when a smoke alarm alerted her to the fire about 3:40 p.m. VanHorn grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to put out the fire, but she fled out a back door as the flames spread through the bedroom, said Patrolman Ed Budzinski. Once outside, she used a cordless phone to call for help, he said. Firefighters from the Slackwood and Lawrence Road fire companies put the fire out within about 20 minutes, keeping it from spreading beyond the bedroom, but most of the house sustained smoke damage, said Slackwood Chief Dale Robbins. VanHorn, who was suffering from minor smoke inhalation, was taken by ambulance to Helene Fuld Medical Center, where she was admitted in stable condition last night. Although the fire occurred at the peak of a violent thunderstorm, officials said it was not storm-related...”

October 25, 1992
An office building at 168 Franklin Corner Road was heavily damage by fire on the night of Sunday, October 25, 1992. The Lawrence Road Fire Co. was dispatched at 7:44 p.m. All three engines responded from Station 22, along with Special Services 22, and Lawrence Road firefighters used 1,000 feet of 5-inch hose, 400 feet of 4-inch hose, and 150 feet of 2.5-inch hose. Station 22 personnel were on the job until 10:30 p.m. The following account was printed in the Trenton Times on Tuesday, October 27, 1992: “Detectives said yesterday they have not yet uncovered the cause of a fire that heavily damaged the second floor of a Franklin Corner Road professional building Sunday night. ‘The cause of the fire is undetermined,’ said township Detective Kevin Reading. Mercer County Fire Marshal George Lenhardt and investigators from the prosecutor’s office also are looking into the blaze. The fire at the two-story brick building apparently started in a utility room in the southwest corner of the second floor. Three gas-fired heating units that serve the entire building were located in the room, but it did not appear yesterday that the heaters started the blaze, Reading said. Officials from PSE&G were on the scene yesterday to investigate also, he said. Once the heaters were destroyed, the flow of gas into the room from the gas line fed the fire, making the heat very intense, said Reading, who also is chief of Lawrenceville Fire Co. The building was closed for business at 7:45 p.m. Sunday when the fire was reported. All three township fire companies and the Princeton Junction Fire Co. had the blaze under control at 8:34 p.m. By the time it was all over, part of the left side of the roof had collapsed, and several offices had been ruined by smoke, fire, heat and water...”

December 4, 1992
Christmas lights started a small fire in the ZBT Fraternity House on the campus of Rider College on Friday, December 4, 1992. Lawrence Road firefighters were dispatched at 10:30 a.m. The blaze was contained to a closet.

December 12, 1992
A major winter storm packing pouring rain and winds that gusted up to 90 mph devastated New Jersey on Friday, December 12, 1992. Flooding and power outages resulted in the Trenton area. Meanwhile, conditions were far worse in Monmouth County and a task force of apparatus from every Mercer County municipality was sent to assist. Engine 22-2 responded as part of the task force and responded, with lights and siren running, to a staging area at the Monmouth County police academy. Engine 22-2, crewed by Assistant Chief John Fleming and Firefighters Alan Laird, Greg Fellers and Michael Ratcliffe, was then relocated to a firehouse in Long Branch. However, because Engine 22-2 was deployed to any assignments, the electrical wiring of the apparatus short-circuited from the flood waters and left the headlights inoperable. As a result, Engine 22-2 was taken out of service and Special Services 22 was dispatched to pick up the engine’s crew.

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