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DECEMBER 23, 2006


133 Winant Road,
Princeton Township

During the pre-dawn hours of Saturday, December 23, 2006, a crew of Lawrence Road Fire Co. members responded into Princeton Township to help battle a working house fire.

Investigators determined the blaze at 133 Winant Road originated in the fireplace of a first-floor den. A crack in the chimney apparently allowed smoldering embers from an old fire to spread into the surrounding wall and extend to a void above the ceiling.

All three Princeton Fire Department stations Princeton Engine Co. #1 (Station 61), Princeton Hook & Ladder Co. (Station 62), and Mercer Engine Co. #3 (Station 63) were dispatched at 4:17 a.m., along with the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad (Squad 168).

Ambulance 168-3 arrived at 4:22 a.m. to find heavy smoke billowing from the house, with all occupants having already evacuated.

With confirmation of a working fire, an engine from Rocky Hill Borough Fire Co. (Somerset County Station 53) was dispatched for rapid intervention team duties.

Princeton firefighters stretched several attack lines and discovered that the fire in the attic space of the den (located in a one-story addition at the rear) was threatening to extend into the main part of the two-story house.

As a result, mutual aid units from Lawrence Road Fire Co., Montgomery Fire Co. #2 (Somerset County Station 46) and Plainsboro Fire Co. (Middlesex County Station 49) were special-called to the scene for manpower.

Engine 22 was initially dispatched at 4:42 a.m. to relocated to Station 63. But at 4:46 a.m. Engine 22 was redirected to the fireground.

Engine 22 responded at 4:47 a.m. with Capt. Michael Byrd in command, Capt. Michael Ratcliffe driving, and a crew of Ff. Steven Hodgdon, Ff. Ryan Dlabik, Ff. Adam Rivera and Ff. Charles Commini Jr.

Deputy Chief Chris Pangaldi also responded to the scene in his own vehicle.

Engine 22 arrived on scene at 4:57 a.m. Engine 22s crew was ordered to report to the second floor of the dwelling to open walls in a bathroom and bedroom to check for fire extension.

The blaze was officially placed under control at 5:46 a.m. The rear addition where the den was located was heavily damaged by fire, but the rest of the dwelling was saved from fire damage and only sustained smoke damage.

There were no injuries reported.

Engine 22 was released from the scene at 6:30 a.m. and was back in quarters by 6:42 a.m.

All photos copyright (c) 2006 by Michael Ratcliffe.

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