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FEBRUARY 3, 2006


13 Rockland Road
Ewing Township

From Thursday, February 2, through Monday, February, 6, 2006, Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers were very busy. A total of 14 alarms were received during that time, including four working fires, a motor vehicle extrication, and two cover assignments.

During the morning of Friday, February 3, 2006, members of Lawrence Road Fire Co. responded mutual aid into Ewing Township for a working structure fire at 13 Rockland Road.

A neighbor who spotted smoke issuing from the single-story house reported the fire.

It was 10:01 a.m. when Mercer County Central Communications Center transmitted Box 31-10 and dispatched the Prospect Heights Fire Co. (Station 31), Engine 32 from Pennington Road Fire Co., and Ladder Tower 33 from West Trenton Fire Co.

A few minutes later, Ewing Township police officers arrived and reported heavy smoke showing from the house. Based on that report, the assignment was upgraded to a full first alarm.

That resulted in all Ewing Township fire companies being retoned and Rescue 22 from Lawrence Road Fire Co. being dispatched at 10:06 a.m. for rapid intervention team duties.

At 10:06 a.m. West Trenton Chief Ralf Brandmaier arrived and confirmed a working fire. He also reported at that time that there appeared to be no one home at the fire building.

Apparatus response times were as follows: Engine 32 at 10:03 a.m.; Squirt 31 at 10:06 a.m.; Ladder Tower 33 at 10:06 a.m.; Rescue 32 at 10:07 a.m.; Rescue 22 at 10:09 a.m.; Engine 31-1 at 10:14 a.m. and Engine 33 at 10:18 a.m.

Rescue 22 was commanded by Capt. Shaun Dlabik. Paid Driver Robert Santello drove and the crew included Lt. Edward Kitchen, Ff. R.J. Laird, Ff. Evan Kutzin and Ff. John Fleming.

Apparatus arrival times were as follows: Engine 32 at 10:07 a.m.; Squirt 31 at 10:08 a.m.; Rescue 32 at 10:11 a.m.; Ladder Tower 33 a 10:13 a.m.; Rescue 22 at 10:13 a.m.; Engine 31-1 at 10:18 a.m.; and Engine 33 at 10:27 a.m.

Engine 32 assumed a position in front of the fire building and secured its own water supply from a nearby hydrant via 5-ince hose. A 1.75-inch hoseline was then stretched to the interior of the house and used to attack the fire, which was located in the basement.

While Ewing firefighters battled the blaze, Rescue 22’s crew reported to the front of the building with their stokes basket full of RIT tools.

At 10:22 a.m. Prospect Heights Deputy Chief Tom Leese reported that the bulk of the fire was knocked down. He officially declared the blaze under control at 10:29 a.m.

The blaze destroyed a finished recreation room in the basement, but the flames were kept from spreading upstairs. The entire house sustained smoke damage, however.

Two pet dogs that had been in the backyard were unharmed, but a third dog (a poodle) that had been inside the house was found dead by firefighters.

Investigators eventually concluded that the blaze had been started in the basement of the home by the homeowner’s children who were allegedly playing with matches or a lighter before they left to go to school that morning, according to police.

At 11 a.m. Leese notified Mercer County Central that overhaul operations were nearing completion and that Rescue 22, Rescue 32 and Engine 33 could recall.

Rescue 22 cleared the scene at 11:09 a.m. Prior to arriving back in quarters at Station 22, Rescue 22 was ordered via radio to respond to another structure fire in Ewing Township at the Homasote Co. on Lower Ferry Road.

14 Runs:

02/02 – 06:32 hrs. – Lawrence: Brunswick Pike & Whitehead Road
Accident: Two cars and a school bus with a traffic light pole toppled; three patients transported by EMS.

02/02 – 08:13 hrs. – Lawrence: 51 Lawrenceville-Pennington Road
Fire Alarm Activation: Caused by burnt toast; no fire.

03/03 – 10:06 hrs. – Ewing: 13 Rockland Road
Structure Fire: Working fire in the basement of a one-story dwelling.

03/03 – 11:16 hrs. – Ewing: 932 Lower Ferry Road (Homasote Co.)
Structure Fire: Machinery fire in basement of recycling plant.

03/03 – 11:33 hrs. – Lawrence: 2525 Princeton Pike (Lawrence High School)
Fire Alarm Activation: System malfunction.

03/03 –11:39 hrs. – Ewing: Station 32 (Pennington Road Fire Co.)
Cover Assignment: Rescue 22 covered Station 32 during Homasote fire.

02/04 – 04:38 hrs. – Princeton Township: Station 63 (Mercer Engine 3)
Cover Assignment: Engine 22 covered Station 63 during Palmer Square fire.

02/04 – 15:42 hrs. – Lawrence: Interstate 95
Accident: Overturned car; no entrapment.

02/04 – 22:03 hrs. – Hopewell Township: 163 Blackwell Road
Structure Fire: Two-story home heavily involved in fire.

02/05 – 02:52 hrs. – Hopewell Township: 163 Blackwell Road
Structure Fire: Small rekindle of earlier fire.

02/05 – 05:52 hrs. – Pennington Borough: 306 Hale Street
Structure Fire: Heavy fire in rear addition of one-story dwelling.

02/05 – 06:00 hrs. – Pennington Borough: Station 51 (Pennington Fire Co.)
Stand-By Assignment: Engine 22 dispatched for cover, then recalled.

02/05 – 20:25 hrs. – Lawrence: 93 Irwin Place
Smoke Condition: Faulty oil burner; heavy smoke in house; no fire.

02/06 – 10:24 hrs. – Lawrence: Quakerbridge Road at Grovers Mill Road
Accident: Overturned tractor-trailer with driver trapped.

All photos copyright (c) 2006 by Michael Ratcliffe.

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