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FEBRUARY 13, 2006


2010 Scenic Drive,
Ewing Township

Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers were among the emergency personnel who responded to a two-alarm blaze in an apartment complex in Ewing Township during the afternoon of Monday, February 13, 2006.

Mercer County Central Communications Center transmitted Box 33-10 at 3:39 p.m. for a possible structure fire at 2010 Scenic Drive.

Dispatched at that time were West Trenton Fire Co. (Station 33), Engine 32 from Pennington Road Fire Co., and Ladder Tower 31 from Prospect Heights Fire Co.

When West Trenton Chief Ralf Brandmaier responded at 3:40 p.m., he was advised by Mercer County Central that the 911 caller reported hearing an audible fire alarm and could see smoke coming from the apartment.

At 3:44 p.m. Deputy Chief 33 arrived on the scene and reported there was heavy smoke showing from the center of a large two-story apartment building.

With a working fire confirmed, at 3:45 p.m. Mercer County Central retoned all three Ewing Township fire companies and also dispatched Rescue 22 from Lawrence Road Fire Co. to the scene as the rapid intervention team.

Responding Ewing apparatus included: Engine 33, Engine 32, Rescue 32, Ladder Tower 31, Squirt 31 and Light Plant 32.

As heavy smoke billowed from the balconies of 2010 Scenic Drive, a first-floor unit, and 2009 Scenic Drive, the second-floor apartment directly overhead, Engine 32 arrived at 3:49 p.m. and took a position in front of the building.

Engine 32's crew went in service with a 1.75-inch hoselines. (A second 1.75-inch hoseline was stretched and put to work as additional crews arrived.)

Engine 33, which arrived a short time later, meanwhile laid a large diameter hoseline out to a hydrant on Scenic Drive to supply water to Engine 32.

Ladder Tower 31 arrived at 3:52 p.m., set up on Side A, and raised its aerial to the roof. A crew then climbed the ladder to the roof and cut a ventilation hole.

Chief Wayne Hannon, who responded in Car 22 at 3:47 p.m., arrived at 3:52 p.m.

Rescue 32 arrived at 3:56 p.m., followed at 3:57 p.m. by Rescue 22 (which had signed on radio at 3:48 p.m.).

Rescue 22 was commanded by Capt. Michael Byrd and driven by Capt. Shaun Dlabik with a crew of Lt. Edward Kitchen, Ff. Evan Kutzin and Ff. Joseph Dlabik Jr.

After arriving on location, Rescue 22’s crew reported with their stokes basket full of RIT equipment to the front of the fire building to stand by.

Ewing firefighters made an aggressive attack and quickly knocked down the bulk of the fire, however additional manpower was still needed to open up the walls and ceilings of the two apartments to make sure the fire had not extended.

As a result, at 4:02 p.m. Brandmaier ordered a second alarm, which sent to the scene the companies that had been relocated to cover Ewing Township’s three firehouses: Engine 51 from Pennington Borough Fire Co., Telesquirt 23 from Lawrenceville Fire Co., Snorkel 21 from Slackwood Fire Co. and Engine 14-2 from Hamilton Township's Enterprise Fire Co.

Squirt 31 reached the scene at 4:03 p.m., followed b Light Plant 32 at 4:04 p.m.

Snorkel 21 and Engine 14-2 both arrived on location at 4:10 p.m., followed by Engine 51 at 4:11 p.m., and then Telesquirt 23 at 4:12 p.m.

The blaze was ultimately contained to the two apartments, which both sustained significant damage. (Holes were reportedly burned through the floor of the second-floor unit).

Fortunately, both units had been vacant and almost entirely empty of furniture.

Investigators later determined an electrical problem had started the fire inside a wall on the first-floor apartment and the flames then spread inside the wall to the apartment above.

Residents of the other apartments in the building were evacuated but later allowed back into their homes after utility services were turned back on to all but the damaged units.

Second alarm companies were recalled starting with Telesquirt 23 at 4:46 p.m.

Rescue 22 was released at 4:51 p.m. and was back in quarters at Station 22 by 5:04 p.m.

All Ewing apparatus finally cleared the scene by 5:48 p.m.

All photos copyright (c) 2006 by Michael Ratcliffe.

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