Accurate Document Destruction Inc.,
649 Whitehead Road, Lawrence Township
Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers were among the emergency personnel who responded to a small fire at the Accurate Document Destruction Inc. facility at 649 Whitehead Road during the afternoon of Monday, September 18, 2006.
Sparks from a welder’s torch were blamed by investigators for accidentally igniting paper inside the hopper of the facility’s large industrial paper shredder.
It was 1:17 p.m. when Slackwood Fire Co. (Station 21) and Lawrence Road’s Engine 22 were dispatched for a water flow alarm at the facility.
Engine 22 and Engine 21-1 both responded at 1:19 p.m.
Engine 22 was commanded by Ff. John Fleming, driven by Paid Driver Robert Santello, and crewed by Ff. Brian Laue and Ff. Evan Kutzin.
Engine 21-1 arrived on location at 1:20 p.m. and its crew went inside to investigate. They found a light smoke condition inside the building and then discovered the fire inside the hopper of the shredder.
While a sprinkler head in the machine had activated and was helping to contain the fire, the blaze was not completely out and was burning deep in the pile of papers.
Engine 21-1’s crew stretched a 1.75-inch hoseline into the building.
Meanwhile, a hoseline was hooked up by Engine 22’s crew (which arrived on the scene at 1:22 p.m.) so Engine 22’s tank water could be supplied to Engine 21-1.
While there was little danger at that time of the fire spreading beyond the shredder, it soon became clear that more help was going to be needed at the scene.
At 1:40 p.m. additional units from three Lawrence Township fire companies and Ladder 14 from Hamilton Township’s Hamilton Fire Co. were dispatched to respond at non-emergency speed to assist with overhaul and ventilation efforts.
Ladder 14 signed on radio at 1:41 p.m., followed by Ladder Tower 23 at 1:43 p.m. and Telesquirt 22 at 1:44 p.m.
Telesquirt 22 was commanded by Capt. Michael Ratcliffe, driven by Ff. Andrew Fosina, and crewed by Ff. Jarred Pierson and Ff. R.J. Laird.
Ladder 14 arrived at 1:43 p.m., followed by Telesquirt 22 at 1:50 p.m. and Ladder Tower 23 at 1:51 p.m.
The additional crews set up positive pressure fans to help clear smoke from the building and brought in long pike poles for use in breaking up the paper piled at the bottom of the hopper.
Firefighters worked from a ladder and from the top of the shredder’s conveyor belt to overhaul the burned paper in the hopper. Power to the shredder was secured and kept locked off while firefighters worked around the machine.
Ladder 14 was recalled at 2:16 p.m. All other units were then recalled at 2:40 p.m. Both Telesquirt 22 and Engine 22 were back in quarters at the Lawrence Road firehouse by 2:50 p.m.
(As a side note, Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers were among the over 100 firefighters who battled the multi-alarm inferno that destroyed Accurate Document Destruction’s warehouse on Industrial Drive in Hamilton Township on April 19, 2005. Please return to the News section of this website for four galleries of photos from that fire.)
All photos copyright (c) 2006 by Michael Ratcliffe.