Back to News

FRBRUARY 4, 2006


Mercer Engine Co. #3 (Station 63),
Princeton 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 pre-dawn hours of Saturday, February 4, 2006, a crew of Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers responded with Engine 22 mutual aid to Princeton to stand by at Station 63 while members of the Princeton Fire Department were battling a structure fire.

The blaze in Princeton Borough started in the kitchen of the popular JB Winberie Restaurant & Bar, located in the bottom floor of 1 Palmer Square, a six-story building occupied by several businesses and offices, according to police.

The Princeton Fire Department was dispatched about 3:43 a.m. after police received a call from ADT security company reporting the building’s fire alarm system had been activated.

Police and firefighters found heavy smoke in the Winberie restaurant and in a PNC Bank branch and J. Crew store on the floors above.

Crews from West Windsor Township’s Princeton Junction Fire Co. (Station 44), Rocky Hill Borough Fire Co. (Somerset County Station 53) and Plainsboro Township Fire Co. (Middlesex County Station 49) were soon called to help search for the source of the smoke.

Fire was eventually found in the wall of the JB Winberie’s kitchen. At that time, flames were reportedly starting to spread to the floor above.

Police said firefighters had to remove a heater in the PNC Bank and cut into the wall to hose down the flames burning below. The blaze was under control by 5:01 a.m., police said.

At 4:38 a.m., Mercer County Central Communications Center dispatched Engine 22 from Lawrence Road and Ladder Tower 23 from Lawrenceville Fire Co. to relocate to Mercer Engine Co. #3’s firehouse (Station 63) on Witherspoon Street to cover the Princeton area.

Engine 22 responded with Capt. Michael Byrd in command and Ff. Charles Commini Sr. driving. The crew was Capt. Michael Ratcliffe, Lt. Edward Kitchen, FF. R.J. Laird and Ff. Steve Adzima.

Engine 22 arrived at Station 63 at 4:57 a.m. and Ladder Tower 23 arrived at 5:01 a.m.

Both crews stood by there, without taking in any emergency assignments, until they were released at 5:57 a.m. Engine 22 was back in quarters at Station 22 by 6:12 a.m.

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.

Top of page