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JANUARY 30, 2005

TWO-ALARM FIRE

Building 16, River's Edge Apartments,
Country Lane, Ewing Township


Two crews of Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers were among the emergency personnel who responded to a two-alarm fire in an apartment building in Ewing Township during the morning of Sunday, January 30, 2005.

It was 9:16 a.m. when the Mercer County Central Communications Center dispatched West Trenton Fire Co. (Station 33) for a possible fire in Building 16 of the River's Edge apartment complex on Country Lane, off River Road.

Heavy smoke was showing from the center of the two-story, 16-unit building and West Trenton Chief Ralf Brandmaier immediately ordered Box 33-10's full first alarm, resulting in Ewing Township's other two fire companies, Pennington Road (Station 32) and Prospect Heights (Station 31), being dispatched at 9:21 a.m.

Lawrence Road’s Rescue 22 was dispatched at about 9:27 a.m. as the rapid intervention team.

At about 9:30 a.m. Box 33-10's second alarm was transmitted, resulting in an additional engine from Lawrence Road and other units being dispatched from the following: the Slackwood (Station 21) and Lawrenceville (Station 23) fire companies of Lawrence Township; Pennington Borough Fire Co. (Station 51); Falls Township Fire Co. (Station 30) from Bucks County, Pa.; and Yardley-Makefield Fire Co. (Station 0) from Yardley Borough, Bucks County, Pa.

Initial firefighting efforts were hampered by the fact that the first hydrant firefighters tried to use was dead. Because of heavy fire conditions on the second floor of the building, efforts to attack the blaze from the interior were soon abandoned and a defensive operation was implemented using master streams from Ladder Tower 31, Squirt 31 and Snorkel 21.

By 10 a.m. the bulk of the fire was knocked down. Crews then reentered the building with 1.75-inch hoselines to hit spot fires and check for extension.

The blaze was officially placed under control at 10:30 a.m. Crews then spent the next few hours overhauling and assisting investigators.

Signal 22, the volunteer canteen service from Trenton, responded to provide firefighters with water and soda.

The blaze remained under investigation, with careless smoking having ignited a mattress in a second-floor apartment reportedly being looked at by authorities as a possible cause.

At least six apartments in the building reportedly sustained heavy fire, smoke or water damage. However, utilities had to be turned off to all 16 apartments in the building, leaving 30 or more people displaced. The Red Cross responded to assist them in finding temporary housing.

Apparatus that responded to the scene included: Engine 33-2, Engine 33-1, Ladder Tower 31, Squirt 31, Engine 31, Utility 31, Engine 32, Telesquirt 32, Light Plant 32, Rescue 22, Engine 22, Snorkel 21, Engine 21-1, Telesquirt 23, Ladder Tower 51, Engine 30, and a Station 0 unit.

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