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APRIL 8, 2006

STRUCTURE FIRE

Parkside Court Apartments,
1480 Parkside Avenue, Ewing Township



A working structure fire in Ewing Township was the location to which Lawrence Road Fire Co. members were dispatched for rapid intervention team duties on Saturday, April 8, 2006.

The fire in the two-story 16-unit building at 1480 Parkside Avenue in the Parkside Court Apartments was reported just before 5:30 p.m. by a resident of the building who, while returning home, spotted heavy smoke issuing from several windows of Apartment #11 on the first floor.

While no one was home inside he man then began to warn other residents of the building to the rapidly-growing blaze. (No one was home at the time inside the fire apartment.)

Prospect Heights Fire Co. (Station 31), Engine 32 from Pennington Road Fire Co., and Ladder Tower 33 from West Trenton Fire Co. were dispatched at 5:28 p.m.

At 5:31 p.m. Prospect Heights Ladder Capt. Tom Balint Jr. arrived and confirmed smoke showing from the building. He requested an immediate upgrade to Box 31-10’s full first alarm.

At 5:32 p.m. Mercer County Central Communications Center retoned all three Ewing Township and dispatched Lawrence Road’s Rescue 22 as the rapid intervention team.

Balint then special-called an additional engine company and ladder company, resulting in Mercer County Central dispatching Engine 14-2 from Hamilton Township’s Enterprise Fire Co. and Snorkel 21 from Lawrence Township’s Slackwood Fire Co. to the scene at 5:35 p.m.

Apparatus responded as follows: Engine 32 at 5:31 p.m.; Rescue 22 at 5:34 p.m.; Rescue 32 at 5:35 p.m.; Ladder Tower 33 and Squirt 31 both at 5:36 p.m.; Engine 31-1, Snorkel 21 and Engine 21 all at 5:39 p.m.; and Engine 14-2 at 5:42 p.m.

Rescue 22 was commanded by Capt. Michael Byrd. Assistant Chief Shaun Dlabik drove and the crew was Ff. Brian Laue, Ff. Evan Kutzin, Ff. Steven Hodgdon and Ff. Joseph Dlabik Jr. Chief Wayne Hannon and Deputy Chief Chris Pangaldi also responded in Car 22 and Car 22-1.

Engine 32 arrived on scene first at 5:34 p.m. and its crew stretched a 1.75-inch hoseline to the front door. After police officers helped force entry, firefighters started to attack the blaze.

Rescue 32 arrived next at 5:37 p.m., followed at 5:38 p.m. by Squirt 31, which laid a large diameter supply line from Engine 32 out to a hydrant on Parkside Avenue.

Rescue 22 also arrived at 5:38 p.m. and its crew assembled their tools and took a stand by position as the RIT in front of the building as Pennington Road firefighters battled the flames.

Engine 31-1 and Ladder Tower 33 both reached the scene next at 5:40 p.m., followed by Engine 21 at 5:43 p.m. and Snorkel 21 at 5:44 p.m.

At 5:45 p.m. Balint notified Mercer County Central that the fire had been knocked down. At that time, Engine 14-2 was recalled and ordered to relocate to Station 31 for cover.

With the fire under control and no obvious extension of fire beyond Apartment 11, Balint recalled Rescue 22 at 5:52 p.m. Rescue 22 was back in quarters by 6 p.m.

Other crews, meanwhile, continued salvage and overhaul efforts. Slackwood firefighters remained on location briefly to assist with ventilation, but were recalled at 6 p.m.

Ewing firefighters remained on the scene until after 7 p.m. assisting investigators.



All photos copyright (c) 2006 by Michael Ratcliffe.