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OCTOBER 25, 2006


Interstate 95 North, between Federal City Road and Route 206, Lawrence Township

A crew of Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers helped battle a blaze that engulfed a crane truck on Interstate 95 during the early morning hours of Wednesday, October 25, 2006.

When Box 23-10 was transmitted by the Mercer County Central Communications Center at 6:17 a.m., Lawrenceville Fire Co. members were dispatched for a possible vehicle fire on the southbound side of Interstate 95 between the Federal City Road and Route 206 exits.

Lawrenceville Chief Dave Burns responded at 6:21 a.m. When he arrived at 6:24 a.m., he found he had a 175-ton capacity crane truck with its cab and engine heavily involved in fire.

At 6:26 a.m., Burns requested an extra engine be added to the assignment and Lawrence Road Fire Co. (Station 22) was, in turn, toned out by Mercer County Central.

Rescue 23, which signed on radio at 6:23 a.m., reached the scene at 6:28 a.m. Rescue 23ís crew immediately began attacking the blaze with their tank water.

Rescue 22 and Telesquirt 23 both responded at 6:30 a.m.

Rescue 22 was commanded by Capt. Edward Kitchen, driven by Capt. Michael Ratcliffe, and crewed by Ff. Joseph Dlabik Jr., Ff. Ryan Dlabik, Ff. R.J. Laird, Ff. Matthew Farletta and Ff. Mark Lenarski Jr.

Rescue 22 arrived on location at 6:36 a.m. and took up a position along the shoulder of the highway in front of Rescue 23.

Rescue 23ís driver had already stretched a 3-inch hoseline into position. That line was hooked up to Rescue 22 and Ratcliffe fed Rescue 22ís tank water to Rescue 23. The remainder of Rescue 22ís crew, meanwhile, went to assist with suppression and overhaul efforts.

Telesquirt 23 arrived at 6:37 a.m. and sent its manpower up to assist where needed.

The bulk of the fire was knocked down by 6:42 a.m.

While crews fought the fire and overhauled, the right and center southbound lanes of I-95 were closed to traffic, resulting in a backup of vehicles several miles long. Eventually, once the fire was out, the center lane was reopened to traffic.

Telesquirt 23 was recalled at 7:11 a.m. Rescue 22 and Rescue 23, meanwhile, remained on scene until about 7:20 a.m. Rescue 22 filled its tank and was back in quarters by 7:30 a.m.

All photos copyright (c) 2006 by Michael Ratcliffe.

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