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211 Crescent Avenue,
Ewing Township

During the early hours of Sunday, September 3, 2006, Lawrence Road Fire Co. members stood by as the rapid intervention team during another working house fire in Ewing Township.

A cooking mishap was blamed for starting the fire at 211 Crescent Avenue. Investigators determined that a pan of frying oil ignited after it was accidentally left on the stovetop. Flames then spread to the kitchen cabinets, and rapidly extended to the second floor through pipe chases.

Residents, alerted by their smoke detector, fled the two-story house and called 911.

It was 11:57 p.m. on Saturday, September 2, 2006, when Box 32-10 was transmitted by Mercer County Central Communications Center.

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

Township police officers soon arrived and confirmed a working structure fire. As a result, Mercer County Central automatically upgraded the assignment to a full first alarm.

That resulted in all three Ewing Township fire companies being retoned and Lawrence Roadís Rescue 22 being dispatched to the scene at the rapid intervention team.

Telesquirt 32 signed on radio at 12:02 a.m., followed by Ladder Tower 31 at 12:03 a.m., Rescue 22 at 12:04 a.m., Engine 32 at 12:04 a.m., Engine 33 at 12:07 a.m., Rescue 32 at 12:08 a.m., Engine 33-1 at 12:08 a.m., and Ladder Tower 33 at 12:18 a.m.

Rescue 22 was commanded by Ff. John Britton, driven by Ff. Charles Commini Sr., and crewed by Ff. Adam Rivera, Ff. Brian Laue, Ff. Jarred Pierson, Ff. Matthew Farletta, and Ff. R.J. Laird.

Pennington Road Chief Don Young arrived on location at 12:03 a.m. to find heavy smoke billowing from the home and blanketing the street. He then spotted fire showing from Side C.

Telesquirt 32 reached the scene at 12:04 a.m. and its crew mounted an aggressive interior attack. Engine 32 then arrived at 12:06 a.m. and established a supply line to a nearby hydrant.

Rescue 22 arrived at 12:09 a.m. the crew immediately set up on Side A as the RIT.

Next to arrive was Ladder Tower 31 at 12:10 a.m., followed by Rescue 32 at 12:10 a.m., Engine 33 at 12:13 a.m., Engine 33-1 at 12:18 a.m. and Ladder Tower 33 at 12:24 a.m.

Prospect Heights Ff. Ryan Quill and Ff. Kevin Rice climbed a ground ladder from Side C to the homeís roof and cut a ventilation hole to release the smoke and heat trapped inside.

The blaze was quickly knocked down by interior crews. Nevertheless, the first-floor kitchen and several rooms on the second floor sustained extensive fire, heat and smoke damage.

The fire was declared under control by Young, the incident commander, at 12:24 a.m.

Firefighters then began performing overhaul. Charred and destroyed furniture from the second floor was thrown outside through a window.

While the rest of Rescue 22ís crew stood by as RIT, Commini used Rescue 22ís onboard cascade system to refill several empty SCBA bottles that had been used by Ewing firefighters.

The Red Cross was called to the scene to help provide shelter for the displaced residents, which included two adults and five children. The children were reportedly aged 6 to 16.

Rescue 22 was released from the scene at 1:07 a.m. and was back in quarters by 1:15 a.m.

All photos copyright (c) 2006 by Michael Ratcliffe.

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