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DECEMBER 8, 2004


324 Federal Point Boulevard,
Lawrence Township

On Wednesday, December 8, 2004, Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers responded to a fully-involved car fire that extended to the exterior of a home in the Traditions at Federal Point development off Federal City Road.

A problem with the vehicle’s electrical system apparently started the fire in a 1988 Mercury Grand Marquis while the car was parked in the driveway of 324 Federal Point Boulevard.

At the time, the car’s owner was inside the house delivering a cake to a friend who lived in the home. Earlier that night, the man had reportedly had problems with the car’s headlights flickering on and off. After hearing a loud pop, he went outside to find his car engulfed in flames. Residents called 911.

It was 5:04 p.m. when Mercer County Central Communications Center transmitted Box 22-20 and dispatched Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville and Slackwood fire companies for a vehicle fire with exposure problems. Also toned out was an ambulance from Lawrence First Aid Squad.

Deputy Chief Wayne Hannon responded in Car 22-1 at 5:04 p.m., followed by Lawrenceville Chief Don Huber and Slackwood Deputy Chief Michael Oakley at 5:05 p.m. Chief John Fleming responded at 5:06 p.m.

Apparatus response times were as follows: Rescue 22 at 5:06 p.m.; Snorkel 21 at 5:07 p.m.; Ladder Tower 23 at 5:08 p.m.; Engine 22 and Engine 21 both at 5:11 p.m.; Telesquirt 23 at 5:13 p.m.; and Rescue 23 at 5:22 p.m. Telesquirt 22’s response time was not logged.

Rescue 22 was commanded by Capt. Chris Pangaldi, driven by Ff. Joseph Dlabik Sr. and crewed by Lt. Shaun Dlabik, Lt. Michael Byrd, and Ff. Ryan Dlabik.

Engine 22 was commanded by Ff. Martin Burch, driven by Ff. John Britton, and crewed by Ff. Chris Dlabik and Ff. Edward Kitchen.

Telesquirt 22 was commanded by Capt. Patrick Kent, driven by Ff. Charles Commini, and crewed by Ff. Ed Budzinski, Ff. Evan Kutzin, and Junior Ff. Keith Kent.

While still some distance away, responding firefighters and police officers spotted flames leaping over the roofs of the houses in the development. At 5:09 p.m. Hannon arrived on scene, followed second later by Fleming, to find the car engulfed in flames, with fire having already extended to the exterior siding of the house.

Rescue 22 arrived at 5:11 p.m. and its crew led of with a 2.5-inch hoseline. A 1.75-inch hoseline was later stretched as a backup. Rescue 22 supplied itself from a hydrant located in front of the fire building.

With confirmation of a working fire, Rescue 32 from Ewing Township’s Pennington Road Fire Co. was dispatched as the rapid intervention team at 7:13 p.m. Rescue 32 responded at 7:17 p.m.

Apparatus arrival times following Rescue 22 were: Ladder Tower 23 at 5:13 p.m.; Telesquirt 22 at 5:15 p.m.; Engine 22 and Snorkel 21 both at 5:16 p.m.; Engine 21 at 5:18 p.m.; Telesquirt 23 at 5:19 p.m.; Rescue 32 at 5:24 p.m.; and Rescue 23 at 5:28 p.m.

Firefighters managed to quickly knock down the flames, but not before much of the home’s vinyl siding melted. Crews removed the siding and used a thermal imaging camera to check both the exterior and interior, but no extension was found under the siding. Lawrenceville firefighters climbed up a ground ladder to check the roof.

At 5:27 p.m., Fleming placed the fire under control. At 5:34 p.m. he released Rescue 32 and the Station 21 units. At 5:50 p.m., all remaining units were recalled with the exception of Rescue 22, which remained on scene to assist investigators and to give the car and side of the home one final precautionary soaking.

Engine 22 and Telesquirt 22 left the scene at 5:58 p.m. and were back in quarters by 6:05 p.m. Rescue 22 cleared the scene at 6:22 p.m. and was back at Station 22 by 6:30 p.m.

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