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FEBRUARY 5, 2006


306 Hale Street,
Pennington Borough

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 early hours of Sunday, February 5, 2005, Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers responded mutual aid to Pennington Borough to help out at a working structure fire.

The blaze on Hale Street in the borough came just hours after Station 22 members helped their Station 51 comrades battle a house fire on Blackwell Road in Hopewell Township.

It all started when Mercer County Central Communications Center received a 911 call from a woman reporting she had a heavy smoke condition inside her home at 306 Hale Street.

The woman was advised to get out of the house. At 5:46 a.m. Box 51-10 was transmitted and Pennington Borough Fire Co. was dispatched, along with Hopewell Borough’s Engine 52.

At 5:51 a.m., Assistant Chief 51 arrived on the scene and reported he had heavy smoke showing from the rear of a one-story dwelling.

The incident was upgraded to a full first alarm and, at 5:52 a.m., Rescue 23 from Lawrenceville Fire Co. and Rescue 22 from Lawrence Road Fire Co. were dispatched.

Rescue 51 responded at 5:52 a.m. followed by Rescue 23 at 5:53 a.m., Engine 52 at 5:53 a.m., then Ladder Tower 51 at 5:54 a.m., Rescue 22 at 5:56 a.m., and then Engine 51 at 5:57 a.m.

Rescue 22 was commanded by Capt. Michael Byrd, driven by Ff. Andrew Fosina, and crewed by Capt. Michael Ratcliffe, Ff. Steven Amiott, Ff. Brian Laue, Ff. R.J. Laird and Ff. Evan Kutzin.

Apparatus arrival times were: Engine 51 at 5:55 a.m.; Ladder Tower 51 at 5:56 a.m.; Rescue 23 at 5:59 a.m.; Engine 51 at 6 a.m.; Rescue 22 at 6:04 a.m.; and Engine 52 at 6:07 a.m.

Lawrence Road Chief Wayne Hannon, who responded in Car 22, arrived at 6:02 a.m.

Rescue 22 backed down Hale Street into a position near the fire building and Rescue 22’s crew, ordered to assume rapid intervention team duties, reported to Side A with their tools.

First-in Pennington firefighter made an aggressive attack and were able to contain the blaze to an addition built at the rear of the home. The fire was placed under control at 6:11 a.m.

A total of three 1.75-inch hoselines were stretched from Rescue 51.

During overhaul operations, Rescue 22’s crew was dissolved of RIT duties and ordered to stretch one of the hoselines to the basement to conduct a search for extension. None was found.

Ultimately, the rear addition was gutted by the flames, but the rest of the house escaped with only heavy smoke damage. No humans were injured but, sadly, a pet cat died in the fire.

Rescue 22’s cascade system was used to fill several SCBA bottles before Rescue 22 was released by Command 51. Rescue 23 left the scene at 6:55 a.m., followed by Rescue 22 at 7 a.m.

Rescue 22 was back in quarters by 7:12 a.m.

Pennington and Hopewell firefighters, meanwhile, remained on scene to finish overhaul and assist fire investigators. Police said the cause of the blaze did not appear to be suspicious.

(During the incident, about 6 a.m., Mercer County Central dispatched Engine 22 to cover Station 51. However, the assignment was cancelled just minutes later by Central.)

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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