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MAY 23, 2005


33 Craven Lane,
Lawrence Township

On Monday, May 23, 2005, Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers were among the firefighters who responded to a basement fire.

It was 9:04 a.m. when the Mercer County Central Communications Center transmitted Box 23-10 and dispatched all three Lawrence Township fire companies - Lawrenceville (Station 23), Lawrence Road (Station 22) and Slackwood (Station 21) - along with Engine 51 from Pennington Borough Fire Co. and an ambulance from Lawrence First Aid Squad (Squad 129) for a reported smoke condition in the home at 33 Craven Lane.

Lawrence Road Chief Wayne Hannon responded at 9:04 a.m. in Car 22, followed by Snorkel 21 at 9:06 a.m., Enigne 22 at 9:08 a.m., and Engine 51 at 9:09 a.m.

Engine 22 was commanded by Ff. Evan Kutzin, driven by Paid Driver Robert Santello, and crewed by Ff. R.J. Laird and Ff. Ryan Dlabik.

At 9:09 a.m., Hannon and Lawrenceville Capt. Fred Bentley both arrived on scene. At first, nothing was showing from the two-story dwelling. But then Hannon and Bentley found a heavy smoke condition on the first floor interior, with a working fire in the basement.

Engine 21 responded next at 9:11 a.m., followed by Telesquirt 23 at 9:12 a.m. and Rescue 22 at 9:15 a.m.

Rescue 22 was commanded by Ff. Joseph Dlabik Jr., driven by Capt. Michael Ratcliffe, and crewed by Ff. Steven Hodgdon. Also aboard the apparatus was the turnout gear of Capt. Shaun Dlabik and Ff. Joseph Dlabik Sr., both of whom phoned the firehouse and advised that they were already on scene in their private vehicles.

Engine 22, the first apparatus to arrive, reached the scene at 9:15 a.m. and its crew immediately stretched a preconnected 1.75-inch hoseline to the basement.

Engine 22's crew crawled through the smoke and spotted a glow of flames in the middle of the basement along Side C of the building. It was there that they discovered clothes on fire next to a clothes dryer that had apparently malfunctioned, sparking the blaze. The bulk of the fire was knocked down in about five minutes.

Snorkel 21 arrived at 9:16 a.m. and its crew initiated a primary search and ventilation efforts.

Telesquirt 23 then arrived and laid a large diameter supply line into the scene from a hydrant at Craven Lane and Route 206.

Ladder Tower 23 responded at 9:22 a.m. and arrived one minute later, while Engine 51 reached the scene at 9:25 a.m. and Rescue 22 arrived at 9:27 a.m.

After the fire was confirmed out with no extension and the primary and secondary searches proved negative, firefighters vented the smoke from the dwelling.

Lawrence Road firefighters remained on scene with Engine 22 and Rescue 22 until 10:05 a.m. Both units were back in quarters at Station 22 by 10:15 a.m.

During the incident, Engine 32-1 from Ewing Township's Pennington Road Fire Co. relocated to cover the Lawrence Road firehouse.

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