Pennington Road Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Paul F. Rulkiewicz said the fire began in the elder Evanko's first-floor rear bedroom. George Evanko woke up and realized there was no power and called PSE&G. He found the circuit breakers were tripped and when he threw them on, they tripped again. Then his son smelled the smoke. Rulkiewicz said PSE&G didnt do any work there in the last couple of days. We found the service-visit slip on the door. One firefighter was treated at the scene for debris in his eye, Rulkiewicz said. Firefighters from West Trenton, Pennington Road and Prospect Heights Lawrence Road, Slackwood, Hopewell, Pennington and Lawrenceville fire companies and Trenton Fire Department responded.
the second time in five months, a suspicious multiple-alarm fire ripped
through a warehouse on Spruce Street, this time gutting the part of
the structure saved from damage during the first blaze, officials said.
One firefighter was injured and taken to Helene Fuld Medical Center,
officials said. Fire crews were still operating around 11 p.m. last
night and were expected to remain on the scene for several more hours
as county fire marshals who have ruled the fire suspicious
began their investigation, said Chief William G. Erney of the Prospect
Heights Fire Co.
were called to the building located at the corner of Spruce and
Fourth streets about 8:36 p.m. when smoke was reported in the
area, officials said. When firefighters arrived they immediately called
for additional manpower and equipment, and eventually more than 60 firefighters
responded. Crews initially sent inside the building to battle the blaze
were called back out after about 20 minutes when the roof and walls
of the building began to crack, Erney said. Just minutes later, the
roof fell in. Fire crews then began an exterior attack, using four aerial
ladders and several hoses to pour water from above.
On December 2, 1994, more than 100 firefighters were needed to control a four-alarm blaze in the front portion of the building. The rear part of the warehouse which once housed an automotive shop was saved from severe damage. It was that back portion of the building that was gutted last night. Both fires are considered suspicious in origin by investigators, Erney said. Ewing Mayor Al Bridges, who was on the scene last night, said ownership of the building recently reverted to the township after its previous owner declared bankruptcy. It will be demolished and the land used in some way to benefit the township, he said. All three township fire companies Prospect Heights, Pennington Road and West Trenton battled the blaze. Assisting were members of the Slackwood, Lawrence Road, Pennington, Enterprise, and Hamilton fire companies.
large field fire straddling the Northeast Corridor railroad tracks raged
out of control for several hours yesterday afternoon, consuming more
than 20 acres before a battalion of firefighters from several companies
was able to douse it, officials said. Firefighters from Lawrenceville
Fire Co. were alerted to the blaze about 12:09 p.m. when a Lawrence
police dispatcher received an anonymous 911 call reporting a fire in
the woods on Lawrence Station Road opposite to the Mercer County Fire
Service Training Center, police said. The flames quickly grew, fanned
by a strong wind, and spread across both sides of the Amtrak railroad
tracks there, consuming trees and undergrowth in a small fire storm.
Additional firefighters and equipment were called in to attack the blaze
from the opposite side of the tracks, just behind the Lawrence Square
Village apartment complex, officials said.
Amtrak was contacted and requested to reduce the speed of its trains so that fire crews operating along the tracks would not be in danger. This request also reduced the possibility that an updraft caused by a passing train would fan the fire, officials said. Nonetheless, the blaze had no impact upon Amtrak's operations and caused no trains to be delayed, according to railroad spokesman Richard Remington. Soot-covered firefighters fought the flames along the railroad lines from Quakerbridge Road to Youngs Road for several hours before bringing the fire under control. Firefighters estimated the area involved was more than 20 acres. It was not until about 4:30 p.m. that the last firefighters left the scene. There were no reported injuries. The cause of the fire was under investigation, officials said. The Slackwood, Lawrence Road, Prospect Heights, Pennington Road, Pennington Borough, Princeton Junction, Mercerville, Hamilton, Nottingham, and Colonial fire companies were all called out for the fire.
families were left homeless after a fire apparently started by a carelessly
discarded match raced through their apartment building Monday night,
fire officials said. The blaze in Building Eight of the Eggerts Crossing
Village complex on Johnson Avenue was reported around 10:47 p.m. Monday.
When members of the Lawrence Road Fire Co. arrived just three minutes
later, the rear of the building was fully involved with fire.
Flames were shooting through the roof, said Lawrence Road Fire
Chief Patrick F. Quill. Firefighters quickly evacuated the entire eight-unit
building and began to battle the blaze. Though the fire was concentrated
in one of the middle apartments, it quickly began to extend outward
in both directions as the flames burned through the thin wooden walls
separating the apartments and ran through into the attic, Quill said.
Flames were licking across the ceiling when we went in to hit
it, Lawrence Road Capt. James Pidcock said. It was going
second alarm was called at 10:54 p.m., bringing all township firefighters
to the scene, as well as mutual aid companies from surrounding towns,
Quill said. Fire crews forced their way into one apartment and were
able to stop the blaze before it could extend into the rest of the building,
Quill said. It was moving fast, Quill said. Another
couple minutes and we could have lost the entire building. The
fire was declared under control at 11:28 p.m. but firefighters remained
on the scene until 2 a.m. to douse hot spots and clear debris from the
apartments, Quill said. Apartment 8E was totally gutted, while apartments
8C and 8F suffered extensive smoke and water damage. Three other apartments
also suffered some form of smoke, heat or water damage, and the entire
roof of the building was damaged by fire, Quill said. Quill said the
building can not be re-occupied until an extensive investigation by
the township's building, safety and health inspectors is made. The displaced
families intended to stay with area relatives and friends, police said.
An initial investigation by Mercer County fire marshals ruled the blaze originated in apartment 8E when resident Patricia Fashion tried to throw a cigarette match in to an ashtray and missed, Quill said. The match instead landed in the pot of an artificial plant in the living room, he said. The plastic plant caught fire. Fashion tried to douse the flames with a bucket of water from the kitchen sink but was unsuccessful, Quill said. The blaze grew as James Fashion tried to call 911 only to find that his phone was not working. By the time the two exited the apartment and alerted a neighbor, the flames had already started to lick up the living room wall. The fire then broke through to the outside of the building and burned through the soffit to the upper floor, Quill said. Members of the Slackwood, Lawrenceville and Pennington Road fire companies all responded to the scene to help battle the blaze, as volunteers from the Prospect Heights, West Trenton, Hamilton and Pennington Borough fire companies provided cover to Lawrence's empty firehouses. There were no reported injuries. The Red Cross is helping the victims find housing and providing them with other services, a spokeswoman said.
Trenton women were seriously injured yesterday afternoon in a head-on
crash on Eggerts Crossing Road near Drift Avenue, the site of several
serious crashes in recent years, police said. Carrie Creech, 66, of
the 200 block of Church Street apparently drifted across the yellow
line in her blue 1993 Buick Century sedan and crashed head-on into a
light blue 1979 Chevrolet Malibu station driven by Damaris Sanders,
40, of the first block of Dixfield Avenue at 12:10 p.m., police said.
Creech apparently was traveling west toward Ewing, police said. Sanders
car was traveling eastbound toward Route 206. It was Creech's third
reported accident since 1987, said a spokesman with the state Department
of Motor Vehicles. Rescue workers used the Jaws of Life to remove both
women from their cars. They were taken by ambulance to a field at the
nearby New Jersey Army National Guard 112th Field Artillery headquarters
and then airlifted by State Police SouthStar helicopter to Robert Wood
Johnson University Medical Center in New Brunswick, police said. Both
women were admitted to the hospital and were listed in stable condition
last night, a hospital spokeswoman said.
A Ewing police officer who happened to be traveling down Eggerts Crossing Road was the first official on scene. He immediately used the radio in his patrol car to contact his dispatcher, who in turn contacted Lawrence authorities with a request for an ambulance and rescue crews, officials said. Volunteers from the Lawrence Township First Aid and Rescue Squad and the Lawrence Road Fire Co. went to the crash scene. While rescuers were busy extricating the two women from the wrecked cars, firefighters stood by with hoses in the event the cars damaged batteries sparked a fire, officials said. The vehicles spun around on impact and Sanders car came to rest in a driveway of a home owned by Barbara Brown, who said she heard a crash but did not see the accident. Several neighbors also said they did not see the accident but heard the crash
raging fire tore through a section of a lumberyard early yesterday morning,
sending flames into the night sky that could be seen for miles. Nearly
300 firefighters battled the 14-alarm fire in a storage building at
Heath Lumber on North Olden Avenue. Firefighters were able to keep the
blaze from spreading to five other buildings at the lumberyard and a
number of neighboring properties. Two people sustained minor injuries
while fighting the fire. Investigators have not determined the cause
of the fire, but officials do not believe it was arson, police Lt. Thomas
Balint said. Everything is so charred, theres no way to
determine what caused the fire, said Gary Patricelli, whose father,
John, has owned the 130-year-old firm for 44 years. A co-owner, Tony
Alech, died earlier this year, he said. We were very fortunate,
the firefighters did an excellent job, Gary Patricelli said. It
could have been so devastating. We are still in business. Because of
them and because of God we are still here.
officers responding to a burglar alarm spotted smoke pouring from one
of the lumberyard buildings, a structure about 75 feet wide and 200
feet long, and called in the first alarm at 1:51 a.m., Balint said,
adding that neighbors and motorists passing the lot reported a burning
odor more than an hour earlier. A police officer in that area
at 1:45 a.m. smelled something burning, Balint said. Then
the officer noticed that a building in the rear of the main showroom
had heavy smoke pouring out of it. The smoke just got heavier and heavier.
Balint said firefighters initially went inside the 30-year-old building
to fight the fire, but were forced back when flames broke through the
roof and it collapsed. He said the building was used for storing doors,
ceiling tiles, paneling, trim, molding and specialty items, including
expensive woods such as mahogany and maple. He said the building also
contained heavy machinery for cutting wood. The fire was really
roaring there for a long while, Balint said. But the fire
was contained to that one building and it didn't get to the other buildings
or the outside lumber racks. The buildings were erected far enough apart
so that the fire did not spread to the other sheds.
praised the work of the firefighters and said they benefited from a
plentiful supply of water. He said six aerial units rained down water
toward the building's corners and perimeter, protecting the adjacent
structures and forcing the fire back toward the middle of the building,
in effect, turning it back upon itself. Prospect Heights Fire Co. Chief
William G. Erney Jr., among the first firefighters to arrive, said,
When I pulled up I could see thick, heavy smoke at the center
of the complex. We sent a ladder to the rear of the building and an
engine to the right front. We started the interior attack but the fire
was so far gone, it was going over their heads. When it vented itself,
it really took off. The fire was declared under control at 4:45
a.m. but firefighters remained at the lumberyard well into the afternoon,
turning over debris, wetting wood and watching for flare-ups, officials
said. By the end of the day, 14 alarms had been sounded, each one bringing
in additional firefighters and equipment needed at the scene.
300 firefighters, including relief and support crews, responded, Erney
said, indicating that the alarm total was the highest for any blaze
he can remember. Ken Johnson, 42, a firefighter with Slackwood Fire
Co. in Lawrence, collapsed during the blaze and was taken to Helene
Fuld Medical Center in Trenton. He was treated for smoke inhalation
and was released, a hospital spokeswoman said. Heavy equipment operator
Ricky Hunt suffered a broken nose when some debris he was moving flew
up and hit him, Erney said. Several firefighters said they were bothered
by nails that were strewn about when the roof collapsed, Balint said.
Detective Tim Foley headed a team of township detectives examining the
fire site. They were joined by investigators from the State Police,
the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, county Fire Marshal George Lenhardt
and his assistants, Joseph Lenhardt and James Greschak, Balint said.
North Olden Avenue was closed between Princeton Avenue and Arctic Parkway
until about 10 a.m., causing a few headaches for morning commuters.
Several trucks making deliveries to businesses located between the closed
roads were forced to wait until firefighters were able to pick up the
several thousand feet of hoses lining the street.
Officials said firefighters from the following fire companies fought the blaze: Prospect Heights, Pennington Road, West Trenton, all of Ewing; Slackwood, Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville, all of Lawrence; three Trenton companies, Engines 5, 6, and 10; Mercerville, Rusling Hose, Hamilton, Enterprise, DeCou Hose, White Horse, Nottingham, Colonial, all of Hamilton; West Windsor; Pennington; and Union of Titusville. Several Bucks County fire companies also responded, including Capitol View and Union in Morrisville; Falls and Fairless Hills in Falls; Upper Makefield; Yardley-Makefield; and the Newtown Fire Association. The Signal 22 canteen truck provided support to the firefighters
motor of a portable fan seized and overheated yesterday, sparking a
fire that damaged the spare bedroom of an Andrew Drive home, officials
said. No one was injured and township firefighters were able to douse
the blaze before it could extend beyond the second-floor room. The fire
was discovered just minutes before 7 p.m. Homeowner Frank Stowits was
downstairs with his wife, Margate, when he heard a smoke detector sounding
on the second floor of the 2.5-story home. He went up to investigate
and found smoke rapidly filling the hallway from the spare bedroom,
said Chief Kevin Reading of the Lawrenceville Fire Co.
blazes reported six minutes apart yesterday caused some frantic moments
for township firefighters. But the flames were doused quickly and caused
only minor damage, officials said. The first fire was reported at 3:39
p.m. when residents at a home on Hopatcong Drive called 911 to say their
laundry room was ablaze, officials said. Volunteers from the Slackwood
and Lawrence Road fire companies were called out. Fire crews found a
small fire in the basement, caused when a plastic cup of gasoline was
left on top of a washing machine. They were trying to burn bees
out of their back yard, said Slackwood Capt. Mike Oakley. The
gas ate through the cup and spilled down the side of the washing machine.
The fumes caught the pilot light on the hot water heater and caused
a flash fire. While Slackwood firefighters were dousing that blaze
which scorched the basement floor and the washing machine
another fire was reported at 3:45 p.m. at a warehouse on Enterprise
Avenue. Lawrence Road firefighters were redirected to that fire to aid
other Slackwood crews.
When they arrived, flames from a tar pot were licking the side of the building. They were putting a new tar roof on, said Slackwood Deputy Chief Ed Budzinski, who directed firefighting efforts. The tar overheated, bubbled over and caught fire. The blaze sent a large plume of black smoke into the sky, causing firefighters from Trenton and the Hamilton Fire Co. to also respond. Fire crews first used dry chemical fire extinguishers to douse the blaze to prevent the hot tar from splattering. Once the flames were under control, hoses were used to cool the tar pot. The building escaped serious damage, Budzinski said. At least two firefighters, Andrew Fosina and Tim Kasony Jr. of Lawrence Road, were treated at the scene for minor heat exhaustion. Several workers reportedly suffered first-degree burns
three-alarm fire damaged a building at the General Motors plant on Parkway
Avenue yesterday morning, officials said. Employees were evacuated shortly
before noon and hundreds of firefighters gathered to fight the fire
or cover stations whose crews were sent to the scene, officials said.
A roofing crew spreading hot tar and using heaters to prepare the roofing
material apparently started the fire at 11:50 a.m., Pennington Road
Fire Co. Chief Paul Rulkiewicz said. Large sections of plywood, underlying
the tar, were charred and had to be removed from the massive roof of
the manufacturing building, firefighters said. The building is approximately
1,000 feet by 3,000 feet, a fire official said. The roofers told
me something apparently spilled and started the fire, Rulkiewicz
said. We have an arrangement with General Motors where they dont
call us in unless there is actually a fire and that's what they had
here today. The workers told us the fire was out but that was not entirely
true. It was a dangerous fire.
fire took place at the Delphi Interior and Lighting Systems plant, formerly
known as the Inland Fisher Guide plant, officials said. Calls to plant
officials were not returned. A source close to the investigation said
burners may have been used on the roof in violation of regulations.
Employees said the building contained manufacturing facilities and offices.
They said the building was filled with smoke after the fire and some
walls and ceilings were damaged. Rulkiewicz said the building's roof
was equipped with standpipes and hoses to assist in firefighting operations.
Windows on the roof that allow light into the rooms beneath them were
shattered by the heat of the fire, Rulkiewicz said.
The chief said firefighters quickly stopped the fire and then cut into the plywood to search for embers which might reignite the blaze. They also set up powerful fans to rid the building of smoke, he said. The fire was declared under control at 12:48 p.m., Rulkiewicz said. There were no injuries to employees or firefighters, although rescue squads set up a rehab center for firemen to rest and rehydrate after spending time on the roof, above the heat of the fire and beneath the searing sun. Among the crews which raced to the fire were the Pennington Road Fire Co.s Engine 32-1, Engine 32-3 and Rescue 32, West Trenton Fire Co.s Engine 33-2, Prospect Heights Fire Co.s Engine 31-4, Slackwood Fire Co.s Snorkel 21 and Engine 21-2, Lawrence Road Fire Co.s Engine 22-3, Yardley-Makefield (Pa.) Fire Co.s Ladder Tower 80, Pennington Fire Co.s Engine 51, Union Fire Co. of Titusvilles Engine 53-3, and Ewing EMS.
suspicious fire led to the rescue of two employees from a professional
building here and resulted in extensive damage to the structure. Firemen
using a hook and ladder truck plucked one of the men from an office
window on the northwest corner of Building Two in the professional office
park in the 3100 block of Princeton Pike. They put an oxygen mask
on him and brought him down, said Chief Kevin Reading of the Lawrenceville
Fire Co. The building houses doctors, dentists and other medical professionals.
There was extensive smoke and water damage in the basement, and the second and third floors of the three-story building suffered extensive smoke damage. Arson investigators from the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office were still looking into the cause of the fire last night. Police believe the fire may have started in the basement. Were calling it suspicious for right now, said Lawrence police Sgt. Edward Gerasimowicz. Aside from the minor cut suffered by Chester, no other injuries were reported
Huffman-Koos furniture store in the Lawrence Shopping Center was destroyed
last night after high winds fanned a small fire into an uncontrollable
blaze, witnesses and officials said. Firefighters battled the unruly,
three-alarm blaze for hours. The fire apparently started in a light
fixture below the awning about 6:15 p.m. at the store on Alternate Route
1, witnesses and officials said. I was helping a customer on the
upper level, then she left, said saleswoman Suzanne Gallina. She
came back in and said the front of the building was on fire. Steve
Niewood, also an employee, said he went outside to check, then ran back
inside and ordered the six customers out of the store. Someone else
phoned the fire department, and the manager, Vern Zames, and his six
employees left through a side entrance. The fire wasnt that
big, Gallina said. It didnt seem that bad, and the
fire trucks were there by the time we came out. It took a while for
them to get the water going, but the flames got caught by the wind.
flames, fanned by gusts of up to 50 mph, quickly spread to the asphalt-covered
roof, which collapsed about an hour after the blaze started. Firefighters
tried to extinguish the flames rising from the 40,000-square-foot building
with four aerial hoses, but as of 10:30 p.m. the fire was still burning
out of control. The wind, which blew a pall of black smoke northeast
over Alternate Route 1, raised fear among fire officials that the blaze
would spread to the two houses Huffman-Koos uses as showrooms. Its
a tragedy to see this happen, said shopping center manager Lawrence
Platt, whose family owns the property. But were grateful
no one was injured, there was no threat to anyone's life. This could
have been a real disaster. He said the store, which employs 20
people, has been in the shopping center for 36 years. It was originally
owned by Huffman-Koos, but for most of the last two decades was known
as Park Lane. Huffman-Koos bought the store back 18 months ago and renovated
it. Its too early to comment on the impact of the
fire damage and costs, Platt said. This is a significant loss
to south Lawrence, Township Administrator Bill Guhl said at the
scene. He said it would be a setback to the area which, in recent years,
has been plagued by vacant businesses and economic decline. Slackwood
Fire Co. Chief Jack Oakley commanded fire crews.
This update is published in the Trenton Times on Sunday, January 21, 1996: Firefighters returned twice yesterday to douse hot spots at the Huffman-Koos furniture store, which was nearly destroyed by fire Friday. Slackwood Fire Co. Chief Jack Oakley said the store's merchandise was trapped when the roof collapsed during the blaze, creating ideal conditions for subsequent flare-ups. The roof shingles melted, and after the collapse firefighters had to break apart the roof to fight the blaze underneath. Oakley said the stuffed couches, mattresses, and wooden items coated with varnish created several flashpoints. The wind, along with a sudden drop in temperature, created gusty, slippery conditions that made fighting the blaze difficult, said Oakley. This was a fantastic effort by everyone involved, he said. The fire ran on us all night, but nobody let up. The fire began in an exterior lighting fixture at 6:15 p.m., and wind gusts up to 40 mph quickly spread it to the roof, said Oakley. After that, the bulk of the flames moved underneath and began burning the dry rafters supporting the roof. All employees escaped unharmed. Five firefighters sustained minor injuries during the seven-alarm blaze, mostly due to falls on the icy surface created by the water, said Oakley. Firefighters stayed at the scene for 11 hours after the alarm was received, then returned a short time later to apply more water...
township woman was seriously injured on Friday when she was struck by
a car while walking across Route 206 on her way home from a bus stop,
police said. Linda Phillips, 51, of the Eggerts Crossing Village complex
on Johnson Avenue, was flown by medical helicopter to Cooper Hospital
University Medical Center in Camden. She was in stable condition in
the intensive care unit there last night, a nursing supervisor said.
The accident occurred at 5:35 p.m. on Route 206 (Lawrence Road) near
Gainsboro Road. A witness told police she and Phillips both returning
from work exited a bus on the northbound side of Route 206. The
two were in the middle of a conversation when Phillips stepped off the
curb and started to cross the road, the witness told police, Lt. Thomas
Webber said. Because cars were turning onto Route 206, the witness remained
on the curb. According to the witness, Phillips kept talking, unaware
that she was alone, Webber said. Phillips then realized she was talking
to herself and paused in the middle of the southbound lane to look back
toward her friend. At that moment, she was struck by a car driven by
Andrew Garland, 36, of Field Crest Court, Lawrence, Webber said. Garland,
who police say was under the 40-mph speed limit, said he did not
see Phillips and that she came out of nowhere, Webber said.
Police said Phillips may have been difficult to see in the dark. She was dressed in a black coat, black pants and black shoes, and was carrying two dark- colored bags, Webber said. During the accident, Phillips' head struck the windshield of Garlands car, shattering it and leaving a circular hole in the tempered glass. Several firefighters were at the Lawrence Road Fire Co. firehouse a block away when they heard a police radio dispatcher report that a pedestrian had just been struck. Fire Capt. Jim Pidcock ran from the firehouse and was the first rescuer on the scene. He began tending to the injured woman, but medics from Lawrence First Aid Squad quickly arrived and took charge. Because Phillips had suffered obvious head injuries, the medics requested the helicopter. The chopper landed in the parking lot of the Lawrence Road firehouse and Phillips was flown to Cooper's trauma unit. Patrolman Sam Pastorella is investigating and has interviewed several witnesses. Though unlikely, it is too early to tell if a motor vehicle summons will be issued, police said.
A fire broke out in the kitchen of a unit of the White Pine apartments yesterday afternoon, fire officials said. There were no injuries, but the residence was ruled uninhabitable until repairs are made, officials said. The apartment, in the 200 block of White Pine Circle, sustained moderate smoke and water damage, officials said. A neighbor heard an alarm sounding from a second-floor unit about 12:45 p.m. and called maintenance to investigate. Maintenance worker Eric Shanks arrived at the apartment a few minutes later and unlocked the door and found a smoke-filled apartment. He then discharged a portable fire extinguisher into the smoke and evacuated the apartment. Volunteers from Lawrence Road and Lawrenceville fire companies responded and brought the fire under control in about 10 minutes, officials said. A neighboring second-floor apartment also suffered moderate smoke damage and another apartment below had minor water damage. The apartments occupants were not home at the time of the fire and are now staying elsewhere while repairs are made. The other two damaged units are habitable. The Slackwood Fire Co. and Lawrence First Aid Squad also assisted at the scene.
Trenton Times published these details about the storm in a story on
Thursday, June 6, 1996: A violent thunder and lightning storm
relentlessly pounded the Trenton region last night, causing scores of
buildings to catch fire or buckle, and forcing evacuations of many homes
near overflowing waterways. Hundreds of roads throughout the area were
closed, making it difficult and sometimes impossible for the already
harried emergency crews to reach stranded residents and motorists on
roads where the voluminous downpour brought the water to chest levels.
The near-collapse of the Parkway Diner on severely flooded Olden Avenue
in Ewing forced the evacuation of employees there, who could be reached
only by a front-end loader. Hundreds of residents were evacuated by
rescuers on boats and Jet Skis in Ewing and in Yardley, Pa., where overflowing
waterways trapped residents in their flooded homes between the Delaware
Canal and the Delaware River. Trenton police said the entire western
section of the city was flooded and all roads there were closed. At
12:30 this morning, Lawrence police were considering evacuations. Rescue
centers were set up in Bucks County, Pa., and in Ewing.
the first of a line of storms hit about 5 p.m., fire crews were inundated
with calls of lightning starting house and wire fires. No injuries were
reported, but many workers at police and fire stations were too busy
to discuss details. Soon, the teeming rain and hail replaced the lightning
as the most threatening condition. The storm dumped at least four inches
of rain on Mercer County. Yardley was completely blacked out and authorities
were saying that the flooded section of town was being evacuated with
the use of boats sent in from throughout the area. In addition to the
threat of fire in homes where basement flooding got dangerously near
electrical boxes and outlets, many of the evacuations were done because
the abundance of water threatened gas lines, causing thousands of reports
of gaseous odors.
along Lower Ferry Road in Ewing were hit hard. Leonard W. Hunter of
Lower Ferry Road said flooding washed away much of the land
in his back yard. Public Service Electric & Gas received thousands
of calls of power outages and requests to turn off electrical and gas
services to avert catastrophes. A state of emergency was declared in
Ewing, where many residents were evacuated to Ewing High School. Crews
held their breath with reports that the Assunpink Creek was expected
to flood and the National Weather Service reported that a flash-flood
warning for Mercer County would continue until at least 2 a.m. Trenton
also had an undetermined number of reports of houses being struck by
lightning, flooding, and electrical fires. I have at least 25
reports on my desk, said Trenton Battalion Chief Richard Laird.
So far, no injuries, he said at about 10 p.m.
winds toppled six poles on Post Road, near Assunpink Park in West Windsor,
according to police and PSE&G. The toppled poles prompted speculation
that a tornado had touched down but that was unconfirmed. It was
a very strong, intense storm in that area but that is the first report
of a possible tornado, Anthony Gigi, meteorologist on duty at
the U.S. Weather Service office in Mount Holly, said. You dont
have to have a tornado to get winds strong enough to snap power poles.
PSE&G spokeswoman Michelle O'Neil said at 5 p.m. there were 6,000
customers without power in Ewing, Hamilton, West Windsor, Plainsboro
and Willingboro. Commerce also was affected by the storm, which took
the power out at the Oxford Valley Mall in Middletown, Pa., and caused
some problems in Mercer County stores.
Brackett, deputy fire chief for the Lawrenceville Fire Co., said there
was a smoking situation at the Quaker Bridge Mall, which caused quite
a stir. In several stores in the mall, Brackett said, lighting
panels got hot and produced some smoke. One of the mall stores
was Lord and Taylor, he said. Flickering lights and a blown-out air-conditioning
unit at the Kmart in the Mercer Mall on Route 1 didn't stop about a
dozen shoppers, according to manager Jonathan Watson. Fires and smoke
problems were reported all over the Lawrence last night, fire officials
Lawrence Road Fire Co. Chief Patrick Kent said they received 22 calls from residents and business owners complaining about fires, water problems and smoke. One was an oil burner that caught fire on Smithfield Avenue, Kent said. Brackett said a car crashed into a pole just outside of Michael's Diner by Howard Johnsons on Route 1 and lightning struck some barrels near the American Appliance store and caused some light smoking
Authorities are still investigating the cause of a blaze that broke out in the basement of a house Friday afternoon, township officials said yesterday. The blaze in the two-story frame dwelling on Alcazar Avenue was discovered at 1:46 p.m. by residents, said police Sgt. Ed Gerasimowicz, who relayed information from the police incident report. Homeowner Ralph Austin and other family members including the mans grandchildren reportedly spotted smoke in the basement. They tried to smother the fire by throwing sugar and flour onto flames, Gerasimowicz said, after reading the police incident report. The family also tried to use a garden hose to fight the fire, he said. When volunteers from nearby Lawrence Road Fire Co. arrived on the scene minutes later, heavy smoke was showing from the front and side the house and flames were coming from the outside basement doors, fire officials said. Firefighters Jeff Hancock, Tim Kasony Jr., Mike Byrd and Marty Burch worked their way down into the burning basement and attacked the flames, fire officials said. The Slackwood and Lawrenceville fire companies assisted. The fire was under control in about 15 minutes, though fire crews remained at the scene until 4:45 p.m. The basement suffered significant fire, heat and smoke damage, fire officials said. Township Detective Al Veltri and Detective Lloyd Mathis from the Mercer County Prosecutors Office are investigating the fire.
township man was killed when his motorcycle collided head-on with a
car on Route 206 yesterday morning, police said. The motorcyclist, David
Serge, 24, was wearing a helmet, but his injuries were so extensive
that he died at the scene, police said. Police were still investigating
the accident yesterday and said they are not yet sure of the exact cause.
The accident occurred at 5:55 a.m. on Route 206 (Lawrence Road) near
Fairfield Avenue, a short distance north of Notre Dame High School.
According to Patrolman Rob Loveless, Serge was riding his motorcycle
south on Route 206 when he struck the northbound subcompact car driven
by Retha Palmer, 48, of Trenton. For an unknown reason, the motorcycle
crossed into the northbound lane and struck the auto head-on, causing
instant or near-instant death, Loveless explained. Almost immediately
after the impact, township emergency dispatchers were swamped with 911
calls. Several area residents, awakened from their morning slumber,
told investigators the crash sounded like a shotgun blast. Based on
the number of calls, every available police unit was sent to the scene.
Loveless said police found no skid marks on the road, indicating neither driver had time to brake. He said it is so far unclear how fast either vehicle was traveling. Loveless said charges probably will not be filed against Palmer, though he stressed that the crash remains under investigation. As far as we can tell at this point, she was not at fault, he explained. In addition to Loveless, Patrolmen David Burns and Rick Doldy are investigating the crash. Investigators from the Mercer County Prosecutors Office are assisting. Investigations were supervised by Lts. Joe Mosner and William Nester and Sgt. Ed Conroy. Route 206 remained closed until about 8:45 a.m. while police investigated. Lawrence Road firefighters remained at the scene throughout the investigation to assist police.
bright orange glow lit the night sky for hours as an eight-alarm arson
fire destroyed four abandoned commercial buildings on Wednesday, Sept.
4, 1996. It was around 8:36 p.m. when the citys 911 dispatch center
received several calls reporting flames in one of the buildings in the
old Trenton Kramer Co. industrial complex in the 600 block of North
Olden Avenue. Trenton Kramer Co., which manufactured air-conditioning
and heating equipment, went bankrupt in 1990. The first firefighters
to reach the scene, under the command of Battalion Chief Thomas Murl,
reported that heavy fire was showing from the windows of the three-story
mill at the center of the complex. Flames quickly took hold of the entire
building, which measured approximately 450 feet by 50 feet in size,
and the roof and walls soon collapsed inward.
second alarm was called at 8:44 p.m.; a third alarm at 9:10 p.m.; a
fourth alarm at 9:25 p.m. Every unit of the Trenton Fire Department,
including several reserve pieces, were called to the job. As the fire
escalated to a general alarm, volunteer fire companies from throughout
Mercer County and Bucks County (Pa.) responded to the scene. By 10 p.m.,
all four buildings in the complex were ablaze and Trenton Fire Chief
Dennis Keenan had assumed command. Police shut down several roads in
the area, including Route 1, to accommodate fire apparatus. Residents
of several nearby homes were also evacuated to a safe area.
To supply water to the numerous master streams in operation, firefighters laid several thousand feet of hose to hydrants throughout the area, including some as far away as New York Avenue near the rear of Helene Fuld Medical Center. Firefighters remained on scene all night battling the inferno and throughout the following day hitting hot spots and assisting investigators. Police later confirmed that the fire had been set by an arsonist. They said they found three separate points of origin in two of the four buildings
A Route 1 car dealership suffered heavy smoke damage when a fire broke out in a malfunctioning refrigerator early yesterday and sent smoke throughout the building, fire officials said. The fire was first noticed when a delivery man dropping off parts in the rear of Lawrence Toyota on Route 1 around 1:30 a.m. smelled smoke coming from the building, Slackwood Fire Co. Chief Jack Oakley said. He went across the street to an Exxon gas station and called in the fire, Oakley said. When I arrived, there was a pretty good smoke condition coming from an exhaust fan on the side of the building. The Lawrenceville, Lawrence Road and Pennington Road fire companies also were called to assist because of the size of the two-story building at the junction of Brunswick Pike and Route 1, Oakley said. Firefighters were able to knock down the fire in about 45 minutes, but remained on the scene until nearly 4:30 a.m. to investigate. Mercer County Fire Marshal George Lenhardt and the township's fire inspector determined that the fire was caused by a faulty refrigerator stored in the back room, Oakley said. The fire was confined to the storage room while other areas of the dealership suffered minor smoke damage, officials said. There were no injuries, and the dealership was reopened yesterday at 6 a.m., Oakley said.
fire on Nassau Street shut down the boroughs main thoroughfare
for nearly three hours yesterday afternoon. Nassau Street was closed
from the intersection of Route 206 to Witherspoon Street yesterday while
firefighters fought a blaze at 16-18 Nassau St., the former location
of Summit Bank. Fire officials say the fire started at about 12:35 p.m.
when the boiler overheated in the basement of the building. Princeton
Fire Department Deputy Chief Rick McKee said police received a call
that someone smelled smoke coming from the building. Firefighters entered
the building and found smoke on the second floor and a scorch mark on
the east wall of the first floor, said McKee.
McKee said the fire spread from the basement, up through the walls to the first and second floors of the vacant building. Firefighters had to tear down the wall to get to the fire, said McKee. Because the building shares a common wall with the office building next door at 20 Nassau St., employees who work in the neighboring building were evacuated. No one was injured in the blaze, said fire officials. The adjoining building was not damaged, said McKee. It wasnt a very large fire, but it was difficult to stop, said McKee. The West Windsor, Princeton Junction, Kingston, Lawrenceville, and Lawrence Road fire companies helped fight the blaze.
though Santa lent a hand in battling a blaze in a Princeton
Avenue house, a family of four was left temporarily homeless last night,
fire officials said. The blaze in a home in the 1700 block of Princeton
Avenue was reported at 8:32 p.m. Slackwood Fire Co. members were already
in the neighborhood because of Operation Santa Claus
a tradition in which St. Nick is carried through town on a fire engine.
As a result, firefighters were on scene in two minutes. Smoke filled
the area and flames were visible behind two second-floor windows on
the left side of the 2 1/2-story duplex, said Slackwood Chief Jack Oakley.
Oakley said he immediately called for a full first alarm, which summoned help from the Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville, and Pennington Road fire companies. Slackwood Deputy Chief Ed Budzinski, who had been Santas stand-in, had time to change out of his red suit and into his firefighting gear, but still sported the silvery-white makeup of Santa's moustache and eyebrows as he battled the blaze. The fire was ultimately brought under control by 9 p.m. The room in which the fire apparently started, a second-floor bedroom, was gutted, Oakley said. Part of the second-floor hall sustained some fire damage and the remainder of the floor suffered heat and smoke damage, he said. The other side of the duplex sustained light smoke damage, he said. There were no injuries, and the four residents will stay with neighbors until their home is repaired. Oakley said the cause of the fire was accidental. He said fire marshals found that an electrical cord, which had been crushed beneath a bed frame, overheated and sparked the blaze. Oakley said Slackwood volunteers will complete Operation Santa Claus in their part of town (District 1) on another night.
the odds and fulfilling the prayers of his family, an 80-year- old man
with Alzheimer's disease survived a bitter cold Friday night in the
woods. Theres your Christmas miracle, said one veteran
firefighter after William Erney Sr. was found alive around 8 a.m. yesterday,
about 19 hours after he reportedly wandered from the Horizon Adult Medical
Day Care Center. We got our Christmas present early, said
the man's son, William Erney Jr., from the family home on Allison Avenue
in Ewing. He said his family is indebted to all those who helped find
their loved one. Hundreds of firefighters, rescue squad members, police,
and civilians combed acres of frost-covered farm land and woods looking
for the elder Erney Friday night. But they had only located one of his
shoes when cold and darkness brought to halt the search about 1:30 a.m.
to the National Weather Service, the overnight temperature plummeted
to just 18 degrees. When searchers started out again about 6:30 a.m.,
they did so fearing the worst but hoping for the best. We never
lost hope. We kept hoping he had found some sort of shelter, said
police Capt. Tom Balint. Those hopes were rewarded when Michael Anderson
and Chris Cruser, volunteers from West Trenton Fire Co., found the elderly
man alive, sitting half-hidden in a gully along the Delaware and Raritan
Canal, a few hundred yards from where his shoe had been located the
night before. The elder Erney, barefoot but still bundled in the long
black coat he was wearing when he wandered off, had a body temperature
of 79 degrees, his son said. He was rushed by ambulance to the emergency
room at Helene Fuld Medical Center, where doctors worked to warm him.
The elderly man was in stable condition in the hospital's intensive
care unit yesterday, his son said. The familys doing fine
now. Were all a little tired, but relieved, William Erney
Jr. said last night. He said his family was extremely grateful
to Chief Fred Collender of the West Trenton Fire Co., members of Mercer
County's central emergency communications center, and the hundreds of
others who helped out. We want to thank everyone who supported
us through this very trying time, he said.
ordeal began about 2:30 p.m. Friday when William Erney Jr., who is chief
of the Prospect Heights Fire Co., was notified that his father had wandered
away from the Horizon Adult Day Care Center on West Upper Ferry Road
around 1 p.m. When the elder Erney, who authorities said had walked
away from the center once before, could not be located, volunteers from
all three Ewing fire companies were called out to help search. A command
post was set up at the West Trenton Fire Co. firehouse and additional
help was called in from around Mercer County. Within a short time, hundreds
of firefighters from 26 volunteer fire companies started a systematic
search of the West Trenton area. Meanwhile, Ewing and Trenton police
and fire crews at Trenton Mercer Airport and in the city checked other
areas. Helicopters from the State Police and National Guard were called
in, including a military helicopter employing a heat-seeking camera.
Fliers with a picture of the missing man were handed out on the streets
and area television and radio stations broadcast his description. After
a few hours, a farmer on the Knight Farm reported that he had found
a bloody shoe. William Erney Jr., who insisted on helping coordinate
the massive search, confirmed the shoe belonged to his father.
Carr said searchers went through the area shoulder-to-shoulder so as not to miss anything. I was totally amazed by how everyone worked, he said. Everyone wanted to be involved and do something. Carr said searchers found several tiny little drops of blood along a farm path. The guys were on their hands and knees, walking, crawling, looking, he explained. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. But that search too proved unsuccessful. By 1:30 a.m., all search teams were called in for the night. As they returned to their homes for a few hours sleep, more than one searcher feared that they would return in the mornings light only to find a body. As soon as William Erney Sr. was found alive yesterday, emergency personnel throughout the region joined the Erney family in breathing a collective sigh of relief. What a Christmas present for the family, said Carr.