tanker truck overturned and spilled about 7,000 gallons of fuel oil
on Lamberton Road near the PSE&G plant on Duck Island yesterday,
officials said. About 125 emergency workers labored for more than six
hours to contain the spill and prevent the fuel from contaminating the
nearby Delaware River. By about 9:30 p.m., the tanker had been uprighted
and a part of its spilled fuel recovered, officials said. Officials
said a private firm specializing in hazardous materials handling will
return to the scene today to remove contaminated dirt that had been
used to dike the spill. Though the accident remained under investigation
last night by township police Patrolman Victor Tobiasz, officials said
the driver of the truck, Louis Pickett, 34, of Eastampton, may have
been driving too fast around a sharp turn near the PSE&G Mercer
a driver for Dana Transport Services of Paulsboro, had just loaded his
8,000-gallon tanker with 7,300 gallons of fuel at the nearby Mobil Oil
plant, officials said. Pickett rounded a left-hand turn about 3:10 p.m.
and the truck went over on its right side, said Sgt. Kurt Pizzullo of
the police Traffic Bureau. As it flipped, the truck slid against a metal
guardrail, its tank ruptured in seven or eight places and the load spilled
out, said Chief David Sabo of Rusling Hose Fire Co. Firefighters and
hazardous materials technicians from the Hamilton Emergency Response
Team were immediately called. They spread absorbent materials and blocked
the flow of fuel with dirt mounds prepared with the assistance of the
township road department and two front-end loaders provided by PSE&G's
Environmental Response Team, officials said. Police Sgt. Richard Herrick
and Capt. William McDougall, the township emergency management coordinator,
stopped traffic at the power plant and set up a command post about 100
yards from the tanker. Hamilton polices Safe Neighborhoods Unit
helped isolate the site. Herrick warned that the spill had the potential
for an explosion.
from Rusling Hose were soon joined by a two-alarm assignment from DeCou
Hose, Enterprise, Chesterfield Hose, Mercerville, White Horse, and Lawrence
Road fire companies, officials said. Hamilton Emergency Services and
Helene Fuld paramedics also stood by. This was a very large scale
operation, said Sabo, who acted as the incidents overall
commander. State Department of Environmental Protection officials initially
warned of possible contamination to the river, about 250 yards from
the accident. Fuel leaked from the tanker across the road and into a
drainage ditch, officials said. But the ditch, when blocked with dirt
mounds, proved to be an effective place to block the flow of oil. There
is a natural hollow near the road where all the fuel pooled, said
Amy Collings, DEP spokeswoman. We have not seen an impact on the
Delaware River. We are very fortunate it went into this hollow.
Because the road was closed, PSE&G opened its gates to permit approved
vehicles to pass through to businesses blocked by the accident, said
company spokeswoman Valorie Ferrara. Power plant operations were not
affected by the spill, she said. Sabo said emergency crews could not
prevent the fuel from spilling from the tanker because of all the holes
in it. The valves weren't leaking, the tank was just torn open,
When the truck was uprighted, only about 300 gallons of fuel remained in the tank, Sabo said. The containment effort was an outstanding job by everyone involved, Sabo said. Because of the weather conditions about 18 degrees I have to give credit to everyone who hung in there. It was a very professional job. Sabo said he was particularly grateful to Signal 22, a volunteer canteen unit from Trenton, that responded to provide cold emergency workers with coffee and doughnuts. Though most emergency personnel left the scene by 10 p.m., workers from a cleanup firm based in Wilmington, Del., remained, Sabo said. He said they would be working today to remove the contaminated dirt and replace it with clean soil. Pizzullo said Pickett, who received only minor injuries during the accident, will be tested for drugs and alcohol, as required by law.
9:40 a.m. on January 17, 1997, Lawrence Township police received a 911
call from Linda Bussell, a resident of Pine Knoll Drive. Bussell reported
that there was smoke coming from a neighboring house at 2797 Princeton
Pike. Volunteers from the Lawrence Road and Slackwood fire companies
were dispatched at that time. Lawrence police Patrolman Dave Burns was
the first emergency responder to arrive on the scene. Burns discovered
that the residents were not home and observed light smoke coming from
the roof and heavy smoke from a vent on the first floor of the 2.5-story
wood-frame dwelling. Burns went to the rear of the home and kicked in
a kitchen door to gain entry. He entered the smoke-filled dwelling and
found an unconscious dog (an American Eskimo named Murphy)
on the kitchen floor.
assistance from Patrolman Jim Vardanega, Burns carried the dog outside
and attempted to revive it with CPR. Unfortunately, the dog was later
pronounced dead. At 9:45 a.m. the first firefighter, Slackwood Chief
Ed Budzinski, arrived. He observed heavy smoke issuing from the dwelling
and immediately radioed other incoming fire units that there was a working
fire in the home. The first two pieces of firefighting apparatus, Engine
22-3 and Snorkel 21, arrived one minute later at 9:46 a.m. Lawrence
Road Capt. James Pidcock and Firefighters Chris Pangaldi and Michael
Ratcliffe forced open the front door and entered the dwelling with a
charged hoseline. Firefighter Marty Burch manned the pump controls of
Engine 22-3 to supply water to the hose team. There was heavy
smoke when we went in. The smoke was banked down to the floor,
Pidcock recalled. We found the fire in the kitchen.
that crew attacked the flames in the kitchen, Slackwood Capt. Michael
Oakley and Firefighters Jack Oakley and John Schafer started to search
through the smoke for potential victims. Michael Oakley and Schafer
descended into the basement to shut off the electrical service to the
home. At the foot of the cellar stairs, they found an unconscious cat.
They carried the pet outside, then re-entered and found another unconscious
cat and a conscious dog (a Weimaraner named Lucas). All
three pets were turned over to the care of Lawrence EMTs Rick Evans
and Mark Peloquin and Lawrence Animal Control Officer Chris Buck. They
tried to revive the two unconscious cats. One cat died, but the other
(a Calico named Lilly) survived.
9:49 a.m., a second alarm was struck and the Lawrenceville, Prospect
Heights, and Pennington Road fire companies were alerted moments later.
Inside the home, firefighters cut holes in the second-floor walls to
reach the hidden fire. As soon as the walls were cut open, flames shot
out. Capt. Pidcock located a third cat in a second-floor bedroom. Unfortunately,
that animal did not survive. Crews attempted to reach the third floor
but they were beaten back by extreme heat. At 10:03 a.m., all firefighters
were ordered to evacuated the building. At that time, Slackwood Assistant
Chief Ken Johnson, Capt. Ron Dziminski, and Firefighter Michael Patanella
climbed a ladder to the roof and cut several ventilation holes. Firefighters
then regrouped and re-entered the dwelling and battled their way up
to the third floor, which was engulfed in flames.
Road Lt. Chris Longo and Firefighters Larry Hoffman, Gary Wasko, and
Sonny Kitchen meanwhile ripped down ceilings and opened walls to reach
pockets of hidden fire. There was a tremendous amount of fire
hidden in the walls. Each time we opened up a wall, we found more fire.
The third floor was engulfed, said Lawrence Road Deputy Chief
John Fleming, who assumed command of the incident at 10:26 a.m.
Investigators suspect the fire was burning at least 15 to 20 minutes before it was reported to 911. In that time, the fire burned through the kitchen cabinets, into the walls, and up to the top floor. It got so hot in there the door to the refrigerator (on the first floor) melted completely off, Fleming said. The fire was declared under control at 10:39 a.m., however firefighters remained on the scene until about 1 p.m. to extinguish hot spots. The entire home sustained heavy smoke and heat damage. On the first floor, the kitchen and stairwell were gutted by fire. A bedroom and the stairwell on the second floor and entire third floor were also gutted by flames. The roof was destroyed...
raging fire tore through a building in the Hopewell Valley Industrial
Park on Sunday, January 19, 1997. The blaze in Building D, located in
the 1600 block of Reed Road near Interstate 95, was reported about 10:40
p.m. About 90 minutes earlier, firefighters were sent to the same building
to extinguish a fire involving a propane-powered heating unit located
outside the building, according to Chief Steve Pegram of the Pennington
Fire Co. (Station 51). Pegram said firefighters had the malfunctioning
heater turned off. He said they then used a heat-gun to check inside
the building for any extension. When no flames were found inside, firefighters
left. A few workers remained inside the building at that time, but they
too left by 10 p.m. It was sometime after that that another fire started.
Pegram said investigators suspect that propane running to the heating
unit leaked from a cracked pipe into the building and found an ignition
source. The building had no fire alarms and no sprinklers. It
sits far back from the road, Pegram explained. So the fire
burned undetected for a while.
Finally, a passing motorist spotted the flames and called 911. The Pennington, Union-Titusville (Station 53), and Pennington Road (Station 32) fire companies were dispatched at 10:42 p.m. While he was still more than a half-mile away, Pegram spotted a bright glow in the sky and immediately called for a second alarm. At 10:44 p.m., the West Trenton (Station 33), Hopewell Borough (Station 52), and Lawrence Road (Station 22) fire companies were alerted. Heavy fire was showing through the roof of the two-story, wood-frame building when firefighters pulled up on scene. An exterior attack was ordered and Tower Ladder 51 and Tower Ladder 33 went into master stream operations. To supply water to the ladder pipes, several tankers from Mercer, Hunterdon, Somerset, and Bucks (Pa.) counties were special-called. Pegram estimated that more than 58,000 gallons of water flowed on the fire before it was declared under control. In total, about 125 firefighters braved sub-freezing temperatures to fight the fire. Though several businesses were destroyed, firefighters saved 25 percent of the building (set on the opposite side of a fire wall) from damage.
two-alarm fire heavily damaged the service garage of the Capital City
Ford dealership on Saturday, February 8, 1997. The fire at the dealership,
which is located on the southbound side of Route 1, was discovered after
motion sensors inside the building were disturbed and the burglar alarm
was activated. Police Sgt. Richard Stout, who responded to check the
alarm, arrived to find smoke pouring from the concrete and metal structure.
At 3:54 a.m., the Slackwood (Station 21) and Lawrenceville (Station
23) fire companies were dispatched. There was heavy smoke coming
from the rear and the roof, Slackwood Chief Ed Budzinski, who
was the first firefighter to arrive on scene, recalled. When I
looked through one of the garage doors, I could see heavy fire inside.
the point, Budzinski ordered that the first-alarm box be filled and
the Lawrence Road (Station 22) and Pennington Road (Station 32) fire
companies were dispatched. Just minutes later, as flames broke through
the bay doors of the dealerships service garage area, Budzinski
struck the second alarm. Responding on the second alarm were the Hamilton
(Station 14), Prospect Heights (Station 31), and West Trenton (Station
33) fire companies. Several LDH lines were laid to supply water to the
fire scene and Route 1 was shut down in both directions. Several aerial
units, including Snorkel 21, Telesquirt 23, Ladder Tower 23, Ladder
Tower 31 and Ladder 14, were placed into position, however an aggressive
interior attack with handlines managed to knock the flames down and
the ladders master streams were never used. The fire was officially
declared under control at 5:15 a.m. Signal 22, a volunteer fire and
police canteen unit from Trenton, responded to provide coffee and sandwiches
to the weary firefighters.
The service garage area was completely gutted by the fire. The blaze was so intense that a 24-inch steel beam in the roof was visibly twisted and concrete blocks in the walls were cracked open. Several vehicles, including a Trenton EMS ambulance and an undercover police car, that were inside the garage were also destroyed by the fire. Investigators later determined that the fire was accidental in nature and had probably been sparked by a space heater that had been left turned on inside the service managers office. The offices and showroom of the dealership sustained some smoke damage, however they remained open for business. The fire was the second in three months to strike a Lawrence automobile dealership. On November 7, 1996, a one-alarm fire damaged a storage room at Lawrence Toyota, which is located on Route 1 right next to Capital City Ford.
elderly woman was killed when a fire raced through her home on Friday,
April 25, 1997. At 8:30 a.m. Princeton Township police received a call
from a private alarm company reporting that the fire alarm inside 200
Hun Road had activated. Three minutes later, they received a frantic
911 call reporting that the house was on fire. A heavy smoke condition
blanketed the neighborhood when Princeton Fire Chief Rick McKee arrived
in the area. McKee said heavy smoke and fire were showing from the dwelling
when he pulled up on scene. By that time, residents were already outside.
One of them, Sonya Gutman, 70, was lying on the ground near the driveway,
McKee said. The elderly woman had apparently been in the kitchen of
the house when the fire started and, as a result, suffered severe burns,
McKee explained. She had been dragged from the burning home by her dedicated
husband, Robert Gutman, with assistance from a neighbor and two maintenance
workers from the nearby Hun School, McKee said.
firefighters and first aid squad members frantically worked on Sonya
Gutman and she was rushed by an ambulance to The Medical Center at Princeton.
Unfortunately, she died around 3:15 p.m. that day. Firefighters encountered
extreme fire and heat inside the dwelling and the equivalent of three
alarms were struck. All three Princeton fire companies responded. They
were assisted by the West Windsor (Station 43), Princeton Junction (Station
44), Hopewell (Station 52), Lawrence Road (Station 22), Lawrenceville
(Station 23), Kingston (Middlesex County Station 24), and Plainsboro
(Middlesex County Station 49) fire companies.
The fire was brought under control around 10 a.m. The house sustained extensive damage throughout, McKee said. Robert Gutman, a professor at Rutgers University and lecturer at Princeton University, reportedly told investigators that he had been upstairs when he heard what sounded like an explosion come from the downstairs kitchen area where his wife was. Representatives of PSE&G investigated and concluded that an outside gas leak had not caused the blast.
A man was trapped inside his sports car after he crashed into a utility pole in the early hours of Monday, April 28, 1997. It was about 12:10 a.m., during a light rain, when the 50-year-old driver crashed his Trans-Am into the pole outside 361 Eggerts Crossing Road. The man told police that he had been speeding and was attempting to turn onto Albemarle Road when he was blinded by the headlights of an oncoming car. The Lawrence Road Fire Co. was dispatched at 12:14 a.m. According to Mercer County Central Communications, Rescue 22, the first due fire apparatus, arrived on scene at 12:18 a.m. Engine 22-3 arrived one minute later. A 1.75-inch handline was stretched and charged and placed into a standby position as Lawrence Road Capt. Jim Pidcock and Firefighter Mike Byrd went into service with Holmatro rescue tools. Lawrence Road Chief Patrick Kent supervised the operation. Firefighters removed the drivers side door in just a few minutes, allowing members of the Lawrence First Aid Squad (Squad 129) access to their patient. The driver, amazingly, was not seriously hurt. He was taken by ambulance to Mercer Medical Center, where he was treated and then released. Police said they issued the man a summons for careless driving.
woman had to be extricated from her sport utility vehicle after it flipped
onto its side during heavy traffic on Interstate 95 on the morning of
Thursday, May 22, 1997. The 31-year-old Hopewell Township woman was
driving her Toyota RAV 4 north on I-95 during morning rush-hour traffic
when she stopped abruptly and was rear-ended by a Toyota Celica, driven
by a 39-year-old Trenton woman, according to state police. The impact
forced the RAV 4 into another lane where it was then struck by a tractor-trailer,
state police said. The RAV 4 was knocked onto its passengers side
by the tractor-trailer and it slid to a rest right on the edge of the
highways grass median. The tractor-trailer jackknifed and also
came to a stop on the median behind the flipped RAV 4.
At 7:29 a.m. the Lawrenceville Fire Co. (Station 23) and the Lawrence First Aid Squad (Squad 129) were dispatched to the accident scene, which was located between the Princeton Pike and Route 1 exits. At 7:30 a.m., Rescue 22 from the Lawrence Road Fire Co. (Station 22) was dispatched to assist in extrication. Rescuers found the driver of the RAV 4 seriously injured and still strapped into her seat. Lawrenceville firefighters initially started using their Hurst tools to remove the roof of the vehicle. They were relieved by Lawrence Road firefighters who used their Holmatro tools to quickly finish cutting the roof. Rescue 1 from the Trenton Fire Department was also initially dispatched to assist, however they were ultimately not needed and just stood by on scene. Once the roof was cut away, the woman was carefully removed from the wreckage and treated by medics on scene. NorthStar, one of the state polices medical helicopters, then landed on the highway and the injured woman was bundled aboard. She was flown to the trauma unit at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. As a result of the crash, morning rush-hour traffic was backed up for miles
contractors accidentally started a fire which heavily damaged a house
on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 27, 1997. According to police investigators,
the plumbers were installing a new hot water heater in the basement
of the two-story home when they disconnected a natural gas line that
they mistakenly believed they had turned off Natural gas suddenly poured
from the disconnected pipe and was ignited by a soldering torch. Unable
to control the fire, the plumbers and the resident quickly fled. They
told a neighbor to phone 911.
2:14 p.m., the Lawrence Road Fire Co. (Station 22) was dispatched to
a reported natural gas leak inside the house at 113 Review Avenue. The
Slackwood Fire Co. (Station 21) was automatically dispatched as mutual
aid. Lawrence Road Chief Patrick Kent arrived on the scene in less than
one minute of the dispatch and found smoke pouring from the rear of
the dwelling. At that time, Chief Kent radioed to Mercer County Central
and advised them that he had a working fire. Chief Kent also called
the crew of the first-due apparatus, Rescue 22, and advised them to
mask up and prepare to go in service with an 1-3/4-inch handline upon
their arrival. At 2:16 p.m., Mercer County Central dispatched the Lawrence
Township First Aid Squad (Squad 129) to stand by at the fire scene.
minute later, at 2:17 p.m., Chief Kent called for the second alarm and
the Lawrenceville Fire Co. (Station 23) was dispatched. Rescue 22 arrived
on scene at 2:17 p.m. and Firefighters Ryan Quill, Tim Kasony Jr., Gary
Wasko and Michael Ratcliffe entered the rear first-floor of the burning
house with a charged handline. Heavy smoke made visibility impossible
inside the first room (a utility/laundry room) they entered. The firefighters
made their way into the next room (a large den) where they found flames
rolling across the ceiling. Meanwhile, Engine 22-3 laid 200 feet of
5-inch hose to supply Rescue 22, as the crew from Engine 21-2 stretched
a second line into the house. After extinguishing flames in the den,
firefighters fought their way down into the basement, where they encountered
heavy fire and intense smoke and heat. Because firefighters were unable
to reach the gas meter in the basement and shut off the flowing gas,
all crews were temporarily ordered out of the building.
At 2:38 p.m., PSE&G workers finally arrived and turned the gas off at the curb, and firefighters were allowed to reenter the burning structure. At 3:18 p.m., the fire was officially declared under control. The basement and first floor sustained heavy fire, smoke, heat and water damage. The remainder of the dwelling sustained heavy smoke damage. There were no injuries reported, although all firefighters were checked out as a precaution by the first aid squad. While all three Lawrence companies were operating at the fire, their empty stations were covered by the Prospect Heights (Station 31), Pennington Road (Station 32), West Trenton (Station 33), and Pennington Borough (Station 51) fire companies. The fire was ruled accidental in nature. It was investigated by Lawrence Police Patrolman Dave Burns and Detective Al Veltri, Lawrence Fire Inspector Rich Soltis, and Investigator Lloyd Mathis of the Mercer County Prosecutors Office.
from two states were need to battle a stubborn fire in an old junkyard
on Thursday, June 26, 1997. The blaze occurred at Meszaros Junkyard,
which is located in an isolated section of woods near South Hill and
Lindberg roads. The Hopewell Fire Department (Mercer County Station
52), which is under contract to protect that section of East Amwell,
was dispatched at 3:49 p.m. While still about two miles from the scene,
Hopewell Borough firefighters spotted a tall column of smoke rising
over the trees. When Hopewell Chief Greg Peck arrived on the scene,
he found a large area of old tires, wrecked vehicles and propane tanks
burning. At that time, the Pennington (Mercer County Station 51) and
Union (Mercer County Station 53) fire companies were dispatched.
from other nearby fire companies were also special-called to help relay
water from a hydrant at the corner of Broad and Elm streets in Hopewell
Borough. Handlines were stretched into the burning junkyard and firefighters
began the long, grueling process of attacking the flames. Because of
the fires dense smoke and the fact that it was not entirely known
if any hazardous materials were burning, all firefighters were ordered
to wear SCBA. Rescue 22 from the Lawrence Road Fire Co. (Mercer County
Station 22) was called to the scene for its onboard cascade system.
Ultimately, more than 50 air bottles were filled.
of the tanker shuttle was established, portable deluge guns were placed
into service. Firefighters managed to save a trailer home from damage
and the blaze was placed under control at 5:13 p.m. However, because
the fire continued to smolder beneath the large mounds of old tires
and other debris, firefighters spent several hours overhauling the junkyard.
A front-end loader was eventually called in to help move some of the
rubbish. The Hunterdon County Hazardous Materials Unit and the New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection responded to monitor air quality,
and to also decontaminate firefighters. A mobile command post from the
Hunterdon County Office of Emergency Management also responded. Ambulance
crews and firefighters ladies auxiliary members stood by on the
scene to care for weary firefighters andrefresh
them with cold drinks and hot sandwiches.
Two firefighters suffered minor heat-related injuries and were taken to a local hospital for treatment. Firefighters finally cleared the scene around 10 p.m. Among the many mutual aid fire companies that sent manpower and equipment to the scene were: Lawrenceville (Mercer County Station 23), Sergeantsville (Hunterdon County Station 47), Amwell Valley (Hunterdon County Station 48), Griggstown Fire Co. (Somerset County Station 35), Montgomery #1 (Somerset County Station 45), Montgomery #2 (Somerset County Station 46), Neshanic (Somerset County Station 48), and Upper Makefield (Bucks County, Pa., Station 71). Investigators from the state police and Hunterdon County Fire Marshals Office later determined that the fire had been accidentally started by workers using an acetylene torch to cut materials. A similar fire occurred at the junkyard on Monday, July 24, 1995. That blaze, reportedly sparked by an overloaded electrical cord, destroyed a garage and several small trailers.
Flames heavily damaged a two-story house in the 100 block of Texas Avenue early yesterday morning. Slackwood Fire Co. volunteers were alerted to the blaze at 2:08 a.m. and, moments later, members of the Lawrence Road Fire Co. and Lawrence First Aid Squad were sent to assist. Firefighters found the rear of the house consumed in flames. They forced their way into the home and searched for trapped occupants, but found no one home. Firefighters discovered that the fire, which had apparently started on the homes rear deck, had burned up the outside of the building, into a second-floor bedroom and up to part of the attic crawl space. Firefighters, who were directed by Slackwood Chief Ed Budzinski, brought the blaze under control by 2:37 a.m., although they remained on the scene until after 4 a.m. to douse smoldering embers. In addition to the fire and heat damage to the rear wall, the second-floor bedroom and attic area, the entire house sustained smoke damage. Fire officials said the blaze was accidental and may have been started by a fault in an outside electrical outlet. The exact cause remains under investigation.
A pet rabbit was saved by firefighters from a fire that heavily damaged a large, single-family dwelling on Thursday, August 7, 1997. The blaze, located at 52 Bayberry Road, was reported at 4:17 p.m. At that time, Ewing firefighters were on another assignment (fallen power lines) on Upper Ferry Road. As a result, they were able to respond immediately and were on scene just minutes later. Heavy smoke was showing from the three-story structure when firefighters arrived on location and went to work. Members of the district fire company, Pennington Road (Station 32), were assisted by members of the township's two other fire companies, Prospect Heights (Station 31) and West Trenton (Station 33). Mutual aid engines were also called (for manpower needs) from the Slackwood (Station 21), Lawrence Road (Station 22), and Lawrenceville (Station 23) fire companies of Lawrence Township. Engine 8 from the City of Trenton was also special-called. The blaze, which may have been electrical in origin, was officially placed under control at 5:23 p.m.
leaking cylinder created a hazardous materials situation at Rider University
on Saturday, August 16, 1997. The leak, located inside one of the rooms
in the science building, was detected by university employees about
7 p.m. Lawrenceville Fire Co. was alerted at 7:08 p.m. after a reading
of about 3,000 parts-per-million was detected inside the building by
campus security. Firefighters from the first arriving unit, Tower Ladder
23, wearing full turnout gear and SCBA, were ordered by Lawrenceville
Second Assistant Chief Tom Everist to briefly enter the building. Because
firefighters were unable to determine what was leaking or what type
of chemical was involved, the building was evacuated and mutual aid
was immediately requested from Trentons HazMat Task Force.
Trentons Rescue 1, Engine 1, Ladder 1 and Battalion Chief Tom Andahazy soon arrived. Engines were also special-called to the scene from the townships two other fire companies, Lawrence Road and Slackwood. Lawrenceville Chief Fred Butch Bentley then arrived and assumed command. HazMat Technicians from Rescue 1 made several trips into the science building. They eventually discovered that some type of ammonia-based product was leaking from a large cylinder. Because several entries needed to be made into the building, additional HazMat technicians were needed, so Trentons Engine 9 was special-called to the scene. For cascade and lighting needs, Lawrence Roads Rescue 22 and Special Services 14 from the Enterprise Fire Co. of Hamilton were also special-called to the scene. Signal 22, Trentons volunteer fire and police canteen unit, was also brought to the scene to provide firefighters with refreshments. Medics from Lawrence and Ewing stood by on scene, but there were no injuries. The leak was eventually plugged and the building ventilated just before midnight. The last firefighters cleared the scene about 12:30 a.m.
apparent delay in calling 911 allowed a small fire to turn into a raging
inferno inside a home that was said to be worth approximately a half-million
dollars on Thursday, October 9, 1997. According to police, the blaze
in the two-story dwelling at 8 Fox Run Road, located off of Woodsville
Road (Route 612), started when a resident mistakenly placed a box of
tissues on top of a halogen lamp in a second-floor bedroom. Fire officials
said the residents discovered the blaze and spent several minutes in
an unsuccessful attempt to fight the flames with pails of water. The
residents then allegedly got a fire extinguisher from their garage but,
because they did not know how to use it, they ran to a neighbors
home for help. But the neighbors also reportedly did not know how to
use the extinguisher, according to fire officials. Finally, sometime
during all the confusion, someone called 911 to report the blaze.
Hopewell Fire Department, with automatic mutual aid unit from the Pennington
Fire Co. and the Union Fire Co. of Titusville, was dispatched at 7 p.m.,
according to Mercer County dispatch records. The first apparatus, Engine
52, signed on radio at 7:03 p.m. One minute later, at 7:04 p.m., Chief
51 arrived on the scene and reported a working fire. At 7:09 p.m., both
Engine 52 and Ladder Tower 51 arrived on location, taking up positions
in the driveway of the burning home. Heavy fire broke through the attic
of the dwelling as additional firefighters arrived. Because there were
no hydrants in the immediate area, a tanker shuttle had to be established.
In addition to Tankers 52, 51 and 53, tankers from Montgomery Fire Co.
#2 (Somerset County Station 46) and Sergeantsville Fire Co. (Hunterdon
County Station 47) were utilized. An engine from Lawrenceville Fire
Co. was dispatched to Hiohelia Lake on Route 31 to refill the tankers.
Rescue 22 from Lawrence Road Fire Co. was ordered to the scene for the
use of its onboard cascade system, with its manpower being utilized
as a FAST Team. An engine from the Rocky Hill Hook & Ladder Co.
(Somerset County Station 53) also responded for manpower.
Using Tower Ladder 51 and 2.5-inch lines, firefighters darkened down the fire in the attic, and then made an aggressive interior attack with 1.75-inch handlines. As they operated on the second floor, firefighters had parts of the ceiling collapse on them and several members briefly became entangled in electrical wires that also dropped down. The fire was under control at 8:05 p.m., however firefighters spent several more hours searching for hot spots. Ultimately, the attic and roof were burned almost entirely off the structure. The second floor sustained heavy fire damage, so much so that the floor in one second-floor room was burned away. The first floor sustained major water damage. All firefighters were checked out by EMS personnel on the scene, and at least one firefighter was treated for a minor injury.
tanker truck overturned and spilled more than 1,000 gallons of No. 2
home heating oil on Saturday, November 15, 1997. The accident occurred
on Carson Road, near Province Line Road, when the driver lost control
and the rig flipped onto its side. The truck slid a short distance across
the roadway and then its cab slammed into a tree. Immediately, oil began
gushing from a tear in the tankers lining. The oil drained off
the roadway and into a shallow ditch running alongside Carson Road.
The oil then began to flow downhill toward Province Line Road. Lawrenceville
Fire Co. was alerted at 10:27 a.m. Lawrenceville Deputy Chief Bob Brackett
was the first officer to sign on radio. He quickly requested that the
Trentons Fire Departments Hazardous Materials Task Force
be dispatched mutual aid to the scene.
an attempt to stop the oil from reaching a sewer drain at the corner
of Carson and Province Line roads, the first arriving Lawrenceville
firefighters started using shovels to dig up the nearby ground to create
dirt dams in several places along the path the oil was flowing. Absorbent
pads and booms were also strategically placed in the oils way.
Because the operations was manpower intensive, additional help was sent
to the scene from Lawrence Road Fire Co. at 10:33 a.m. Trentons
HazMat units (Rescue 1, Engine 1, and Ladder 1, under the command of
Acting Battalion Chief Rick Farletta) arrived on location at 10:48 a.m.
While Trenton HazMat technicians suited up, Lawrence firefighters continued
their effort to dike the spill. Two handlines were also stretched into
position (one on either side of the flipped tanker) as a precaution.
Fortunately, the Trenton personnel managed to quickly seal up the leak, with an estimated 500 gallons of oil still inside the tanker. The situation was declared under control at 11:02 a.m. Signal 22, the volunteer fire and police canteen unit from Trenton, was called out to provide firefighters with hot coffee and sandwiches. During the operation, Station 23 was covered by the Slackwood Fire Co., while Station 22 was covered by the Prospect Heights Fire Co. A representative of the state Department of Environmental Protection eventually arrived and supervised the cleanup, which was conducted by a private recovery company hired by the owners of the wrecked tanker. Once the tanker was uprighted by a tow truck, firefighters were released from the scene around 2 p.m. The cleanup operation continued throughout the day. Ultimately more than 1,000 gallons of oil were recovered from the ground.
elderly couple perished when flames raced through their home in the
early hours of Friday, December 5, 1997. It was 12:36 a.m. when crews
from the Slackwood and Lawrenceville fire companies were dispatched
for a house fire with possible entrapment at 18 Stonicker Drive. Slackwood
Chief Ed Budzinski signed on radio at 12:38 a.m. He was immediately
advised by a Lawrence police dispatcher that neighbors were calling
911 to report that heavy smoke was coming from the front of the house.
At that time, Budzinski requested that Lawrence First Aid Squad (Squad
129) be dispatched to the scene. Budzinski arrived on location at 12:41
a.m. and spotted heavy fire and smoke on the first floor inside the
two-story dwelling. At that time, Budzinski called for additional resources
from the townships remaining fire company, Lawrence Road, and
the Pennington Road Fire Co. of Ewing Township.
the protection of a hoseline, police officers and Budzinski forced entry
into the burning home and located one of the victims, 76-year-old George
Carroll, on the floor just inside the front entrance way. The victim
was removed from the house at 12:45 a.m. but he was already dead. Slackwoods
first-due apparatus, Engine 21-1, arrived on the scene at 12:44 a.m.
It was closely followed by: Snorkel 21 and Engine 23-2 at 12:45 a.m.;
Engine 21-2 and Engine 22-3 at 12:48 a.m.; Engine 23-3 at 12:49 a.m.;
Rescue 22 at 12:50 a.m., and Telesquirt 23 and Ladder 23 at 12:51 a.m.
Several other support units, including Special Services 32 (cascade),
arrived later. Firefighters were told that the dead mans elderly
wife, 76-year-old Helen Carroll, was still inside, but her location
At first, firefighters were told she was on the second floor. While crews worked a handline on the fire in the first-floor living room, another crew attempted to advance another line up a stairwell to the second floor. But their efforts were hampered by extreme heat. Firefighters then laddered the house, smashed out the second-floor windows, and made entry through the windows there. At 12:57 a.m., Helen Carroll was found lying dead on a couch in the first-floor living room. Her body was badly burned. The living room (the room of origin) was entirely gutted, with part of the ceiling burned away. The second-floor room above the living room also sustained heavy fire damage. The rest of the house sustained heavy smoke and heat damage. The fire was declared under control at 1:24 a.m. It was later determined that a cigarette started the fire, but it was unclear if Helen Carroll fell asleep or if she suffered a heart attack that caused her to drop the cigarette. No evidence of any smoke detectors was found in the house.
car and a sport utility vehicle collided on the afternoon of Saturday,
December 20, 1997, and rescuers had to cut off the roof of the car to
free its driver. The accident occurred at about 12:45 p.m. on Franklin
Corner Road near Route 1 when the sport utility vehicle turned left
out of a gas station and headed west up Franklin Corner just as the
car pulled out of the rear exit of the nearby Howard Johnson motel.
The driver of the sport utility, a 27-year-old man from Massachusetts,
tried to stop when the car appeared in front of him, but the collision
was unavoidable, police said. The sport utility slammed into the drivers
side of the car, crushing it inward.
At 12:56 p.m., Lawrenceville Fire Co. and the heavy rescue unit from the Lawrence First Aid Squad were dispatched for what police called a minor door pop. But when they arrived on scene, rescuers found the driver of the car, a 72-year-old man from Monroe, N.J., pinned in his seat, trapped by the crumpled drivers side door and the steering column. At about 1 p.m., Rescue 22 from the Lawrence Road Fire Co. was special-called to assist in the extrication. The extrication certainly proved to be more than just a door pop, as rescuers were required to remove the roof and drivers side door of the car before medics were able to package and remove the victim. The elderly man was then rushed to Helene Fuld Medical Center in Trenton, where he was admitted in guarded condition. Injuries to the driver of the sport utility and a passenger in the car were reportedly minor in nature. The road remained closed for about an hour while police investigated.
Ewing firefighters tried to access the burning structure from Euchner
Lane, Rescue 22 arrived on Hillcrest Avenue and Lawrence Road firefighters
immediately placed a 2.5-inch handline in service on Side D of the building.
Engine 22-3 arrived next and laid 200 feet of 5-inch hose from Rescue
22 to a hydrant on Hillcrest Avenue. A second 2.5-inch handline and
one 1.75-inch handline were then stretched from Rescue 22.
A total of 350 feet of 2.5-inch hose and 200 feet of 1.75-inch hose were used to make up the three handlines. Engine 22-1 and Utility 22 also responded. Chief Patrick Kent assumed command of Lawrence Roads crews. Soon after water was placed on the fire, the roof collapsed. Several more handlines and a master stream from Prospect Heights Squirt 31 were placed in service on Side A by Ewing firefighters. The fire was controlled by 5:48 p.m. Ewing police later ruled the fire an arson and said three juveniles had been seen running from the home just before the fire broke out.
1:43 a.m., Engine 22-3 was dispatched to cover Station 32. At 2:12 a.m.,
West Trenton Chief Ralf Brandmaier called for the second alarm and Engine
22-3 moved up to the scene. Engine 22-3s crew (Capt. James Pidcock
and Firefighters Michael Byrd, Steve Amiott, Gary Wasko, and Michael
Ratcliffe) were sent to man a 1.75-inch handline in the golf cart exposure
building. By that time, the roof of the caddyshack had collapsed and
the bulk of the fire had been knocked down by master streams from Telesquirt
32 and Squirt 31. Once the exposure building was safe, Engine 22-3s
crew reported to the second floor of the cottage to open walls and pull
the ceiling to access hidden pockets of fire.
crews were hampered by several layers of material in the ceiling. Smoke
soon began to bank down on the second floor as the fire remained out
of reach. At that time, interior crews backed out and Telesquirt 32
opened up with its master stream. Meanwhile, Engine 22-3s crew
rested at the Signal 22 canteen. A short time later, Telesquirt 32 shut
down and firefighters went back inside to finish pulling the ceiling.
It was during this operation that Lawrence Road Firefighter Gary Wasko
had his left foot punctured by a nail that went through the side of
his boot. He was treated on scene by Pennington Road First Aid Squad.
A West Trenton firefighter was also injured. He was treated at Mercer Medical Center for smoke inhalation. The fire was under control at 4:42 a.m. In the end, the caddyshack (along with thousands of expensive golf clubs belonging to country club members) was destroyed and the cottage was extensively damaged. Apparatus from the following fire companies also operated on scene: Pennington, Slackwood, Yardley-Makefield, DeCou, and Trenton Rescue 1. Engine 22-3 was back in quarters by 5:30 a.m. The cause of the fire was later ruled to be an electrical fault in a soda machine located outside the caddyshack.
the first-due engine (Rescue 51) was supplied water by the tankers on
the scene. But later, a supply line consisting of more than 2,000 feet
of large diameter hose was laid to the nearest hydrant. Firefighters
were able to contain flames to the front foyer and attic, but the rest
of the home sustained smoke and water damage. The situation was under
control by 3 a.m.
Firefighter Ryan Quill manning the pump of Engine 22-3, Longo and Firefighters
Marty Burch and Steve Amiott advanced a 1.75-inch handline into the
dwelling. They encountered zero visibility and heavy heat and worked
their way to the rear bedroom on Side B where they found heavy fire
breaking through the walls. A crew from Station 23 then arrived with
a second handline. While firefighters were working in the room, the
floor partially collapsed and Burch fell through a hole into the basement
as far as his waist level. At that time, the basement was heavily involved
with fire so that flames immediately began to lick at Burchs lower
body. Longo and Amiott, with help from Lawrenceville Firefighter Bill
Grey, quickly pulled Burch from the hole.
conditions in the room rapidly deteriorating. Lt. Longo ordered all
personnel to evacuate. Amiott jumped through a window to the exterior.
Longo and Burch and Station 23s crew then backed out through the
interior of the house. Burch was then escorted to the EMS command post,
where he was checked by Squad 129 personnel. After regrouping on the
exterior, Engine 22-3s crew re-entered the building and continued
to attack the flames. Engine 22-1, operated by Firefighter Gary Wasko,
meanwhile arrived on scene at 2:14 p.m., hooked up to a hydrant and
back-stretched one section of 4-inch hose to supply Engine 22-3. After
the supply line was established, Engine 22-1s crew reported to
the front of the building.
James Pidcock and Firefighters Chris Pangaldi and Michael Ratcliffe
entered the house. Visibility was still zero at that time. They initiated
a primary search for victims, as well as a missing dog. No victims were
found. After locating the stairs to the basement, Capt. Pidcock called
for a handline to be stretched to the Side D doorway. Lawrence police
Patrolman Dave Burns then kicked in the Side D door, which had been
locked. Pidcock, Pangaldi and Ratcliffe and some Station 23 members
then stretched the handline down into the basement and began to search
for the basements bilco doors (located on Side C). After the bilco
doors were opened, another handline was stretched to Side C. That line
was utilized to extinguish flames in the basement ceiling.
22, which was special-called to the scene at 2:12 p.m., arrived at 2:24
p.m. Rescue 22s crews, consisting of Firefighters Jason Pidcock,
Tim Kasony Jr. and Charles Commini, then assisted in pulling the ceiling
in the basement. Damage to the house was extensive. The basement, where
the fire was started by an electrical problem in a breaker box, was
gutted near the Side B/C corner. The basement ceiling was burned through
in several places. The floor in the rear bedroom on Side B was partially
collapsed with pieces of furniture (a bed and dresser) hanging half
into the basement. This was where Burch nearly fell into the basement.
The floor in the middle bedroom on Side B was also partially collapsed
with another bed hanging halfway into the cellar.
After the bulk of the fire was knocked down, Lt. Jeff Sawasky checked the attic for extension. Station 22 personnel assisted in overhaul operations. The pet dog was eventually found dead in the house. Lawrence Road firefighters cleared the scene at 4:13 p.m. and spent about 90 minutes in the firehouse putting the apparatus back in service. During the incident, Engine 32-1 covered Station 22.
October 1, 1998
October 12, 1998
Rescue 22 arrived on scene, elevated master streams were flowing from
Ladder 51 and Telesquirt 53 and two 1.75-inch handlines and one 2.5-inch
handline were in service. The fire building had already collapsed and
Lawrence Road firefighters assisted in extinguishing hot spots and moving
debris. All firefighters were ordered to wear SCBA due to the presence
of fertilizers inside the fire building. Commini and Forker operated
the cascade system on Rescue 22 to fill SCBA bottles. Spill pads from
Rescue 22 were used to dike runoff from the fire.
alarms were sounded for tankers and at least 40,500 gallons of water
were flowed on the blaze, which was declared under control at 6:05 a.m.
At 7:31 a.m. Trenton's hazardous materials team was called to the scene
While Station 22 personnel stood by on the scene, another structure fire was reported at 8:42 a.m. on Box 52-50. Rescue 22's crew quickly took up from the scene of the Sansone blaze and responded to the job at 51 Feather Bed Lane. Deputy 52 (ex-Lawrence Road member Joseph Toth II) piloted Rescue 22. The fire building, a 12-by-12 foot shed located several hundred feet from the roadway down a private driveway, was in a state of collapse when firefighters arrived on the scene. Station 22 personnel assisted in wetting down the fire and overhauling the rubble. Rescue 22 finally returned to Station 22 at 9:30 a.m.