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APRIL 20, 2006


Lawrence Shopping Center,
2495 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence Township

A crew of Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers extinguished a smoky mulch fire in the parking lot of Lawrence Shopping Center on Thursday, April 20, 2006.

It was 3:30 p.m. when Mercer County Central Communications Center dispatched the Lawrenceville (Station 23) and Slackwood (Station 21) fire companies to investigate an activated fire alarm at 5 Town Court North.

At the time, Lawrenceville firefighters with Telesquirt 23 were committed at the scene of a two-alarm house fire at 2 Fox Run Road in northern Hopewell Township.

Thus, at 3:32 p.m., Lawrenceville Chief Dave Burns ordered Mercer County Central to also dispatch Lawrence Road firefighters to the Town Court fire alarm.

At the time, Rescue 22 was in Hopewell Township returning to Lawrence Township from the scene of 2 Fox Run Road after having operated at the scene of the two-alarm blaze.

Rescue 22 immediately took in the assignment for the fire alarm.

Rescue 22 was commanded by Capt. Michael Ratcliffe, driven by Ff. Michael Peterson, and crewed by Capt. Edward Kitchen, Ff. Joseph Dlabik Jr., Ff. Ryan Dlabik and Ff. Sean Ryan.

Engine 21 signed on radio at 3:33 p.m., followed by Engine 22 at 3:34 p.m.

Engine 22 was commanded by Assistant Chief Shaun Dlabik, driven by Paid Driver Bryan Gibbons, and crewed by Capt. Michael Byrd, Ff. R.J. Laird and Ff. Adam Rivera.

Chief Wayne Hannon and Deputy Chief Chris Pangaldi responded in their chief’s cars.

Engine 21 arrived at 3:39 p.m., followed by Engine 22 at 3:40 p.m. Crews investigated and found that the alarm had been the result of a system malfunction.

At 3:45 p.m. Rescue 22 was recalled from the Town Court alarm and immediately redirected by Mercer County Central to respond on Box 21-10 to Lawrence Shopping Center at 2495 Brunswick Pike for a mulch fire in one of the landscaped islands in the parking lot in front of the Acme supermarket.

Slackwood Safety Officer Jack Oakley arrived at 3:47 p.m. and reported there were no exposure problems. Rescue 22’s crew arrived just seconds later and discovered an area of mulch about 3-feet by 12-feet in size smoldering.

Rescue’s crew deployed a 50-foot section of 1.75-inch hoseline and extinguished the fire. The mulch was turned over and the area was thoroughly wet down.

Rescue 22 cleared the scene at 3:56 p.m. and arrived back in quarters by 4 p.m., just as Engine 22 was returning to the firehouse from Town Court North.

All photos copyright (c) 2006 by Michael Ratcliffe.

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