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MAY 25, 2005


144 Greenland Avenue,
Ewing Township

During the early-morning hours of Wednesday, May 25, 2005, members of Lawrence Road Fire Co. responded mutual aid into Ewing Township to help battle a structure fire at 144 Greenland Avenue.

It was 4:05 a.m. when the Mercer County Central Communications Center transmitted Box 31-10 and dispatched the Prospect Heights (Station 31), Pennington Road (Station 32) and West Trenton (Station 33) fire companies.

An ambulance from Pennington Road First Aid Squad (Squad 132) was also dispatched.

Ewing Township police officers arrived on location about 4:10 a.m. and reported that they had heavy smoke issuing from the dwelling and fire showing from basement at the rear.

The residents (a family of five) had already fled the burning house. They told police they had awoke to find their home filled with heavy heat and smoke.

Pennington Road Deputy Chief Eric Rowlands arrived at 4:12 a.m. and reported that he had heavy fire showing from the two-story house.

Squirt 31 and Engine 32 both responded at 4:11 a.m., followed by Ladder Tower 33 at 4:13 a.m.

Squirt 31 and Engine 32 both reached the scene at 4:13 a.m.

Ladder Tower 33 arrived at 4:18 a.m.

Engine 31-1, which signed on radio at 4:17 a.m., reached the scene at 4:19 a.m.

At 4:18 a.m., Mercer County Central filled out the first alarm box by dispatching Engine 21 from Slackwood Fire Co. and Rescue 22 from Lawrence Road.

Rescue 22 responded at 4:22 a.m. with Capt. Shaun Dlabik in command, Ff. Charles Commini driving, and a crew that included Ff. Brian Laue, Ff. R.J. Laird, Ff. Ryan Dlabik and Ff. Evan Kutzin.

Snorkel 21, meanwhile, signed on radio at 4:24 a.m.

(At the time, an engine from Slackwood Fire Co. was already committed on another incident, which was dispatched about 3:30 a.m. and involved the death by fire of the attendant of the Shell gas station at Franklin Corner Road and Route 1 in Lawrence. According to police, the 49-year-old male allegedly committed suicide by dousing himself with gasoline and then setting himself ablaze.)

Rescue 22 arrived on location at 4:28 a.m. Rescue 22 was initially dispatched for rapid intervention team duties. However, upon their arrival, Rescue 22's crew was ordered by Prospect Heights Chief Jeff Lenarski to help fight the fire.

Rescue 22's crew proceeded to the rear of the building, where they proceeded to work a 1.75-inch hoseline and used hand tools to open the home's rear wall.

At 4:26 a.m., Lenarski advised Mercer County Central that he still had heavy fire along Side C of the structure and that all hands were working.

Rescue 32 responded at 4:26 a.m. and arrived at 4:29 a.m.

Snorkel 21 also arrived at 4:29 a.m.

Engine 31 responded at 4:29 a.m. and reached the scene at 4:30 a.m.

The fire was officially declared under control by Lenarski at 5:06 a.m. Investigators later said they believed that faulty wiring had caused the blaze.

Lenarski began releasing apparatus beginning with Rescue 32 at 5:41 a.m.

Rescue 22 remained on location until 6:31 a.m. and was back in quarters at Station 22 by 6:45 a.m.

During the fire, Lawrence Road Fire Co. was dispatched at 5:21 a.m. to assist Slackwood Fire Co. with a carbon monoxide alarm at 836 President Avenue. Engine 22 responded and briefly stood by on President Avenue whle Engine 21's crew investigated. Engine 22 returned to quarters by 5:39 a.m.

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