3360 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence Township
Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers were among the firefighters who responded to a fire at the Sports Authority sporting goods store at 3360 Brunswick Pike on Monday, June 5, 2006.
It was 10:24 a.m. when Mercer County Central Communications Center transmitted Box 23-50 and dispatched the Lawrenceville (Station 23) and Slackwood (Station 21) fire companies to investigate a fire alarm system activation at the Sports Authority store.
Lawrenceville Capt. Butch Bentley responded at 10:25 a.m., followed by Slackwood Chief Mike Oakley at 10:29 a.m.
Snorkel 21 also responded at 10:29 a.m., followed by Engine 21 at 10:30 a.m.
At 10:31 a.m. Bentley arrived on scene to find nothing showing from the exterior of the store. He went inside the investigate. A couple of minutes later, the building’s alarm system registered the activation of a sprinkler head inside a small store room near the front of the store.
Snorkel 21 and Engine 21 arrived at 10:35 a.m. and took up positions on Side A of the building just as heavy smoke was discovered coming from the store room.
Bentley immediately radioed Mercer County Central and requested a full first alarm.
At 10:37 a.m. Mercer County Central redispatched both Lawrenceville and Slackwood fire companies and also toned out Lawrence Road Fire Co. (Station 22).
A Lawrence First Aid Squad ambulance was also dispatched.
Utility 23 responded at 10:39 a.m., followed by Engine 22 at 10:40 a.m. and Rescue 22 at 10:44 a.m.
Engine 22 was commanded by Capt. Michael Byrd, driven by Paid Driver Bryan Gibbons and crewed by Ff. Ed Budzinski and Ff. R.J. Laird.
Rescue 22 was commanded by Capt. Edward Kitchen, driven by Capt. Michael Ratcliffe, and crewed by Ff. Steven Hodgdon and Ff. Evan Kutzin.
Utility 23 arrived at 10:44 a.m. Engine 22, which was ordered to proceed to Side D to stand by at the building’s fire department connection, arrived at 10:45 a.m.
Rescue 22 arrived at 10:50 a.m. and staged on Side A.
Slackwood firefighters quickly learned that the sprinkler system had extinguished the fire in the store room. They checked for fire extension in the ceiling and walls but found none.
The fire was officially declared under control at 10:50 a.m.
It was later learned that a bank of electronic handheld bar code scanners had overheated in their chargers and sparked the blaze.
Although the fire was out the store was filled with a moderate to heavy smoke conditions.
Firefighters set up several positive pressure fans and smoke ejectors to clear the smoke from the store.
Because all units on scene were committed to ventilation efforts, at 10:54 a.m. Mercer County Central dispatched Engine 51 from Pennington Borough to the stand by at Station 22 to help cover all of Lawrence Township.
Lawrenceville Chief Dave Burns arrived on scene at 11:22 a.m. and assumed command. Telesquirt 23, meanwhile, responded at 11:22 a.m. and reached the scene at 11:27 a.m.
As ventilation efforts continued, Burns recalled Rescue 22 at 11:37 a.m. With Rescue 22 available, Engine 51 was ordered to relocate to Lawrenceville’s firehouse and stand by there.
Rescue 22 was back in quarters by 11:51 a.m.
Engine 22 was finally released at 12:34 p.m. and was back at Station 22 by 12:43 p.m.
Slackwood and Lawrenceville firefighters, meanwhile, remained on scene until 1 p.m.
All photos copyright (c) 2006 by Michael Ratcliffe.