The Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association responded to a house fire on
Monday, January 21, 1946. According to the incident report, the blaze
in the two-story home on Johnson Avenue was reported about 6:30 p.m.
Thirty Lawrence Road firefighters answered the alarm and remained on
the scene for two hours.
During the meeting held on Monday, February 11, 1946, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported on the Johnson Avenue fire, noting the company saved
the building. Also during the meeting, the chief reported
fire school starting soon. Pat Pilla suggested two meetings be held
each month. A discussion followed. The following amendment was presented
for its first reading: `Be it hereby resolved that Article I Section
I of the bylaws be voided and the following substituted - the regular
meetings of this association shall be held on the second and fourth
Monday of each month at the firehouse beginning at 8:30 p.m. Letter
was received from Mr. Klockner. He has no pigs but offered us two turkeys
in their place. Discussion held and it was suggested that we hold our
banquet in March. Mr. Martin of Security Fire Equipment demonstrated
a new breathing apparatus.
Highlights from the minutes of the meeting held on Monday, March 11,
1946, include: Chief Anthony Pilla reported one grave fire this
month. He reported a new 15-pound carbon dioxide extinguisher has been
purchased. The Sick committee reported Mercer County Fire Marshal Dave
Newell died (on March 7). A bouquet was sent to Mrs. Newell. The amendment
to the bylaws submitted at the February 11 meeting was unanimously passed.
It was discussed that V.F.W. Post 3022 had suggested changing their
meeting night so as not to conflict with ours thereby giving our veterans
an opportunity to attend both organizations.
On Thursday, March 21, 1946, the Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association
responded to assist Lawrenceville Fire Co. at a structure fire on Titus
Avenue. Lawrence Road firefighters participated in a 2.5-inch hose relay
and remained on the scene for three-and-a-half hours, according to the
During the next meeting, held on Monday, March 25, 1946, Chief
Anthony Pilla reported we had several grass fires. The chief reported
we were called by Lawrenceville to a barn fire and saved the house and
sheds. More hose has been ordered. The Kitchen committee reported work
will start after the pig roast. Joseph Pilla requested everyone pitch
in and help get the work done. The Banquet committee reported everything
was in readiness for Saturday night.
During the meeting on Monday, May 13, 1946, Chief Anthony Pilla
reported two field fires. He purchased some fog nozzles and brooms.
Chief has new car emblems for 75 cents. Combustibles were burned at
the dumps. It was reported people are complaining that the Honor Roll
is not up to date. It was suggested the committee get anyone to put
the names on the Honor Roll. Anthony Pilla requested the use of the
hall for a course on first aid in conjunction with the township Lions
Club drive for an ambulance. Motion passed giving permission for the
first aid ambulance course to use the firehouse. The secretary was directed
to write to the township committee to get an opinion on who has authority
to examine and condemn fire hazards.
Details of an oil burner fire on June 9, 1946, at the residence of Linton
Reed on Irwin Place was reported by Chief Anthony Pilla during the meeting
held on Monday, June 10, 1946. Also during the meeting, Chief
Anthony Pilla reported he attended the state chiefs meeting with
Thomas Ettinger and Harold Edwards. A letter of resignation from Financial
Secretary William Musson Jr. was read. Resignation was accepted. Walter
Schoeller and Richard Lauderback were nominated to fill the unexpired
During the next meeting held on Monday, June 24, 1946, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported no fires. He is getting prices on tires for the Sanford.
The First Aid course will meet Wednesday night. Walter Schoeller was
elected as financial secretary. Albert Schoeller was elected delegate
to the state convention and Steve Stanzione was elected alternate. Delegates
and alternates to the Mercer County Firemens Association were
At about 5 p.m. on Friday, June 28, 1946, members of the Lawrence Volunteer
Fire Association responded mutual aid to Princeton for a structure fire
caused by lightning. Two days later, on Sunday, June 30, 1946, at about
5:50 a.m. Lawrence Road firefighters helped battle a fire that destroyed
a house on Eggerts Crossing Road in Ewing. Unfortunately, few other
details are recorded on the incident reports of the two fires. Although
some brief details were given during the next company meeting, no newspaper
reports on either fire have so far been located.
During the meeting held on Monday, July 8, 1946, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported two fires, both out of district: lightning hit a house
in Princeton and a fire of undetermined origin burned down a house just
over the township line in Eggerts Crossing. The chief also reported
that the first aid course would start on Tuesday night with Mr. Crans
of Public Service as instructor. The secretary was directed to write
a letter to the township committee requesting information as to the
status of the younger members enrolled during World War II.
Details of a fire involving a truck carrying a load of asbestos on Lawrence
Road on Tuesday, August 6, 1946, were recorded in the minutes of the
company meeting held on Monday, August 12, 1946: Chief Anthony
Pilla reported one truck fire with damage limited to one rear wheel.
He also reported receipt of 300 feet of 2.5-inch hose and that the county
chiefs meeting would be held at our firehouse on Wednesday, August
14. It was decided that refreshments for the chiefs meeting be
purchased from the House account. A question was raised on the initiation
fee for the younger members who were admitted during the war. It was
pointed out that these members would not be required to pay the initiation
fee. Harold Edwards reported on the Mercer County Firemens Association
meeting. The proposed county fire map has been turned over to the chiefs
association. The only parade in Mercer County will be the one at the
fairgrounds during fair week. Walter Schoeller was appointed to the
countys legislative committee.
During the meeting held on Monday, August 26, 1946, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported one car fire on Darrah Lane (on August 20, 1946). It
was reported that Atlantic Refining is putting on a gas fire show on
Duck Island on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.
Livestock and farm equipment were lost in a blaze that destroyed a barn
on the Harry B. Holcombe peach farm at Bakers Basin on Monday, September
2, 1946. A photograph of the fire appeared on the front page of the
Trenton Evening Times
on Tuesday, September 3, 1946. The caption of the photo reads: Lawrenceville,
Lawrence Road and Slackwood fire companies battled for nearly two hours
to prevent the flames from spreading to the farmhouse 100 feet away.
Holiday traffic on the Brunswick Pike was slowed to a crawl and partially
diverted as firemen pumped water from the canal on the opposite side
of the highway. Cause of the blaze and extent of the damage have not
yet been determined.
Details of the Bakers Basin blaze, as well as a chair fire at 1088 Lawrence
Road at 6 a.m. on August 31, 1946, were given by Chief Anthony Pilla
during the company meeting held on Monday, September 9, 1946. Other
items of interest recorded in the minutes of the meeting include: A
communication was received from the township committee advising that
the fire marshal has authority to condemn buildings as fire hazards.
We were also advised to keep the members under 18 from active duty as
they are not covered by workmans compensation. A discussion was
held on the proposed township membership ordinance in regard to age.
The secretary was directed to investigate compensation regulations in
regard to age.
During the meeting held on Monday, September 23, 1946, Chief Anthony
Pilla asked for men to report on Friday to clean the truck for the fair.
He reported a drill was held with three other companies, and another
dam will be built on Eggerts Crossing. It was reported the township
ordinance changed the age limit to 18 to 60. The state labor law prohibits
anyone under 18 from serving as a fireman. The chief was instructed
to keep his juniors off the trucks. Delegates to the Mercer County Firemens
Association were instructed to bring this up at the county meeting so
other companies may be warned of this law. Discussion was held on returning
our meetings to once a month.
Highlights of the minutes of the company meeting held Monday, October
14, 1946, include: Chief Anthony Pilla reported no fires. He reported
on our attendance at the state fair and 4.5-inch hose is on order. A
discussion was held on reverting to one meeting each month. No action
taken. Chief Anthony Pilla and Harold Edwards pleaded for more cooperation
on the part of members, pointing out that there is a lot of work necessary
about the building and with the overhead doors. It was recommended that
we talk up the firehouse and its meetings. A letter of thanks for our
work at his fire was received from Harry Holcombe. The age limit ruling
was discussed at the Mercer County Firemens Association meeting
held at Slackwood. Letter from Signal 22 was referred to the chief for
consideration and payment of $15. Mr. Trout of Signal 22 invited the
members to look at their truck. Permission was granted to the Lions
Club to hold first aid classes on the first and third Mondays of the
month. The secretary was directed to notify members that the nomination
of officers will be on our first meeting in November and election of
officers will be on our first meeting in December. It was requested
that anyone borrowing chairs obtain permission from the Ladies Auxiliary.
It was requested that an attempt be made to recover some of the silverware
that is missing.
On Wednesday, October 30, 1946, a motor vehicle accident occurred on
Brunswick Pike about 12:45 p.m. and members of the Lawrence Volunteer
Fire Association were called out, according to the incident report,
because of oil on the roadway. There was no fire. The Trenton Evening
Times published this brief on the crash in that nights papers:
Raymond Bucker, 48, a Philadelphia truck driver, was treated at
McKinley Hospital this afternoon after his 10-ton truck and trailer
turned over on the Brunswick Pike near Bakers Basin. A squad from the
state Highway Department was sent to clear the roadway and a state trooper
was detailed to direct traffic at the scene. Lawrence Township police
are investigating the accident. Bucker was treated for a cut of the
forehead and multiple bruises and abrasions and a possible fracture
of the wrist.
During the meeting held on Monday, November 11, 1946, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported one truck overturned on Brunswick Pike, one grass fire
and one woods fire. Steve Stanzione discussed the advisability of our
purchasing a utility truck. Matter was referred to Chief Pilla for study.
Several suggestions were advanced to try to stimulate interest in attendance.
Walter Schoeller proposed the purchase of uniforms for parade purposes.
Committee was appointed to investigate. It was concluded that one effective
means of securing better attendance was for each member to take it upon
himself to seek to have one tardy member attend. Chairman Harold Edwards
of the Building committee reported needed maintenance on the building
included replacement of glass on windows, as well as painting of trim
and, of particular necessity, painting of doors. After discussion, it
was concluded that it would be better to defer painting until possibly
the spring, since by that time possibly better paint could be secured.
It was decided that painting of doors should be done at this time using
the services of volunteer members. Nominations of officers were held.
The Merry-Go-Round Bar was heavily damaged by a blaze on Wednesday,
November 13, 1946. A photograph of several Lawrence Road firefighters
gathered around the Signal 22 canteen truck was published on the front
page of that nights edition of the Trenton Evening Times. The
following story ran alongside the photo:
$20,000 fire early today wrecked the interior and liquor stock of the
Merry-Go-Round Bar at 1861 Princeton Avenue, near Dunn Field. Cause
of the blaze was not immediately determined. The owner, John Bodnar,
38, his wife, Olga, and their children, John, 10, and Joan, 12, were
routed from their apartment in the rear of the stone-fronted building
at 6:30 a.m. The fire was discovered by the driver of a passing ice
truck, Edward Falewell of Eggerts Crossing. A telephoned alarm brought
apparatus from the Slackwood, Lawrence Road and Lawrenceville fire companies,
and also Engine Co. 9 from Trenton.
laid 1,300 feet of hose from Lanning Avenue and other lines from Betts
Avenue. Six streams were played on the roaring fire before it was brought
under control in a 20-minute battle. Hurriedly dressed, Bodnar stood
by watching the firemen at work. He estimated the damage at $20,000
and said the loss was partially covered by insurance. A gaping hole
was left in the flooring adjacent to the circular bar. Several feet
of water filled the basement under the front part of the building. The
beer-cooling apparatus and bottles of wine and liquor were a total loss.
Signal 22 emergency canteen dispensed coffee and doughnuts to the 50
firemen at the scene. The canteen was commanded by Roy Fisher of the
city electric bureau. Hundreds of motorists en route to work stopped
to witness the fire. Traffic was handled by fire police in charge of
Walter A. Schoeller of the Lawrence Road Fire Co. The Slackwood apparatus
was in charge of Chief James R. Snook, while the Lawrence Road engines
were under the command of Chief Anthony Pilla. Engine Co. 9 was commanded
by Capt. Chris Reilly. Bodnar has operated the bar for the past six
On Saturday, November 16, 1946, the Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association
responded to a fire in the Cameron house on Lawrence Road. According
to the incident report, the blaze started in the chimney of the 1.5-story
structure and extended into the walls. The alarm was sounded at 8 a.m.
and 1.5-inch hose and booster lines were used to battle the flames.
Lawrence Road firefighters remained on the scene for two hours.
We received quite a bit of praise for our work at the Cameron
fire, Chief Anthony Pilla reported during the meeting held on
Monday, November 25, 1946. During the meeting the chief also reported
on the fire at the Merry-Go-Round bar. Chief reported one rescue
of a child locked in a bathroom. A car was reported on fire but no alarm
was sounded. The House committee reported the paint has been obtained
for the first coat on the doors. The screens have been painted one coat.
Help is needed for job completion. The House committee was asked to
take care of the broken windows.
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting held on Monday, December
9, 1946, include: Chief Anthony Pilla reported on one field fire
for a total of 31 fires and 13 drills for the year so far. A thank you
letter and a $20 donation were received from Cameron. It was reported
the doors and screens are completely painted. Albert Schoeller demanded
that the Building fund be straightened out. Election of officers held.
It was moved we cancel our second meeting of the month due to Christmas.
Moved we have open house on New Years Day.
During the meeting held on Monday, January 13, 1947, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported three fires - a trailer at Eggerts Crossing, Walts
Holiday Inn and the dumps. Chief Anthony Pilla asked for permission
to use the firehouse for a home nursing course to be held in the afternoons.
Permission was granted. Walter Schoeller brought up about whether veterans
should pay their back dues. On suggestion from President James Dorety,
matter was left up to the Board of Trustees to decide.
During the meeting held on Monday, January 27, 1947, Chief Anthony Pilla
reported one two fires, one at the Panelyte plant on January 17, 1947,
and another at Eldridge Park School involving a hot cinder igniting
waste paper in the basement on January 24, 1947. Also during the meeting,
Chief reported the purchase of new red lights, hose and a new
white coat for Walter Schoeller. President James Dorety reported on
the Board of Governors meeting. Some members were suspended and letters
were sent out to those who are back in dues. Three members were voted
Honorary Life Members - Joseph Hollies, Henry Dettman and Howard Klockner.
Pat Pilla is to see about a pig for a pig roast. Joseph Crans is to
see the telephone company about listing our fire company in the phone
The following item appeared in the Trenton Evening Times on Thursday,
February 6, 1947: Chief Tony Pilla of Lawrence Road Fire Co. and
Chief James Smith of Slackwood Fire Co. asked Lawrence Township committee
to improve the fire alarm system. Pilla said a recent alarm at Eldridge
Park School was mistakenly given to Slackwood instead of Lawrence Road
and that in the case of a serious fire the extra minutes wasted would
have proved serious. The committee requested the firemen to bring the
situation to the attention of the school board. The committee said it
could look into the situation and would be glad to receive suggestions
for a better method of giving the alarms.
Highlights from the minutes of the company meeting on Monday, February
10, 1947, include: Chief Anthony Pilla reported one fire (on February
5, 1947) at Clarence Smires home on the Princeton Road. The fire
was in the chimney. Chief Pilla reported that he went before the township
committee to straighten out a better means of calling the fire company
when an alarm is sent in. He will go before the school board to get
their ideas on the matter.
At 3:15 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, March 2, 1947, the members of
the Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association responded to assist the Lawrenceville
Fire Co. at a structure fire. According to the incident report, the
building was completely destroyed and Lawrence Road firefighters were
on scene for four hours.
Trenton Evening Times published the following account on Monday, March
An early morning fire yesterday routed a man and his wife from
their home on the Lawrenceville-Pennington Road in Lawrence Township.
Although volunteers from three suburban companies fought the blaze,
William W. Rich, 40, and his wife Bertha were left homeless. The fire
was discovered at 3 a.m. by Mrs. Rich when she arose for a glass of
water. She aroused her husband. At that time, the flames were sweeping
an attached garage. Dressing quickly, Rich ran to a neighboring home.
Firemen were called from Lawrenceville, Lawrence Road and Slackwood.
Volunteers laid more than 1,000 feet of hoseline and exhausted the water
tanks on their trucks. The house was left little more than a shell of
charred wreckage. Cause of the fire was not immediately determined...
Details of the fire on Lawrenceville-Pennington Road were given during
the meeting held on Monday, March 10, 1947. Also during the meeting,
Our annual pig roast was postponed this year. A moment of silence
was held for Sonny Fell. During the Mercer County Firemens Association
meeting at Pennington Road, talks were held on financing dams and standpipes.
Herb Jaeger suggested we get our piano tuned. No action was taken.
During the meeting held on Monday, March 24, 1947, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported two grass fires. Booster pump repaired. A drill was held
at Eldridge Park School. The pupils were unable to hear the whistle.
The secretary was directed to write a letter to the school board about
installing a better system. Walter Schoeller made the motion that the
previous motion made on the pig roast be rescinded and that at our next
regular monthly meeting a new motion be in order to uphold our old tradition
of holding an annual pig roast.
At 11 p.m. on Monday, March 31, 1947, the Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association
responded to a fire involving a chicken coop at Eggerts Crossing and
Bunker Hill roads. According to the incident report, the chicken coop
contained 300 4-week-old chicks. Lawrence Road firefighters remained
on scene for one hour and the coop was completely destroyed. But the
incident report makes no mention of how many chicks were lost.
During the meeting held on Monday, May 12, 1947, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported one fire at Vince Terranovas house on Eldridge
Avenue (on May 8, 1947). House was saved with a little damage done.
A donation of $5 was received from Vince Terranova for responding to
the fire at his house. An invitation was received for a parade to be
held in Hamilton Square. Chief Pilla reported that he had eight members
sign up for the fire school in Newark. The 33rd Anniversary of our fire
company was celebrated by showing movies of New Jersey. James Balaam,
Charles H. Smith, and William Sharp were honored as charter members
of this association. Minutes of the first meeting ever held in this
firehouse were read by President James Dorety. A bottle of Calvert was
chanced off and won by Alfred Bossio. Mr. Sharp turned over a check
for $1,666.66 from the township for our Engine account. The Mercer County
Firemens Association meeting was held at our firehouse on May
7. Memorial services held. The names of deceased county members were
read. Donald Lang sang songs accompanied by Steward ODonnell.
Major Snook gave an interesting talk on foreign police.
During the meeting held on Monday, May 26, 1947, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported one fire on Lawn Park Avenue where a refrigerator motor
burned out. We pumped out a cellar at Drift and Eldridge avenues. Seven
members went to fire school in Newark. Chief Pilla suggested that we
stir up some social event to liven up our fire company. William Baker
suggested we take a bus trip to a ballgame in Philadelphia. Motion was
made the Social committee take care of arrangements. Chief Pilla reported
that the flag pole can be painted and a new rope and pulley gotten for
Under the headline Lawrence Township Seeks Simplified Fire Alarm
Setup, the following article was published in the Trenton Evening
Times on Thursday, June 19, 1947: If you want to report a fire
in Lawrence Township, you could save time if you knew the number of
the fire company in your zone. There are three fire companies and three
numbers at the present time. Many people forget the numbers in an emergency.
Fire chiefs and assistants from Slackwood, Lawrence Road, and Lawrenceville
fire companies met with the township committee to work out a simpler
alarm method. They endorsed a proposal by Robert W. Drach, commercial
representative of the New Jersey Bell Phone Company, which would make
the same Lawrence and Trenton numbers work for both police and fire
alarms. Under the proposal all fire and police calls would go to police
headquarters at the municipal building. The police attendant would then
press one of three buttons to sound the siren of the company nearest
the fire. At the present time such calls are routed through the Trenton
electrical bureau. Firemen claimed this has sometimes resulted in confusion
since persons unfamiliar with the territory have not always called the
At 2 p.m. on Friday, August 22, 1947, the Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association
was called to help battle a fire in a chicken barn on Federal City Road
in Ewing Township. According to the incident report, Lawrence Road firefighters
used 1,400 feet of 2.5-inch hose and were on the job for four hours.
Details of the fire were reported in the next company meeting.
During the meeting held on Monday, August 24, 1947, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported Ewing Township called for our help in a relay at a barn
fire on Federal City Road. There was also a fire on Merline Avenue at
Pat Pasquitos home (on August 21, 1947). Very little damage done.
Under new business, it was reported the color will be changed on our
membership cards. It was voted we buy 500 cards for $7.50 for the next
two years. It was reported H. Lee McConahy Jr. and William Marsh have
completed seven years of active duty. The First Aid Squad requests the
use of the kitchen on Wednesday night of this week. Request granted.
November 10, 1947
bill for $690 for 500 feet of new hose was ordered paid to the James
B. Hunt Manufacturing Co. during the meeting held on Monday, November
10, 1947. Also during the meeting, Chief Anthony Pilla reported
no fires. Chief Pilla asked permission to use the siren for the First
Aid Squad in case of an accident. Permission granted. Joseph Crans reported
that he has obtained additional insurance on the firehouse to the amount
of $12,000, which will cost $272.20 for five years or $62.40 for one
year, to go into effect February 27, 1948. He also said it will cost
$10 to have the extra $5,000 worth of insurance from November 1947 to
February 1948. This was ordered done. The Ladies Auxiliary donated $200
to the fire company from the supper they held. Lee McConahy reported
that ex-Chief James Hindley was sick. William Baker made a motion that
we send fruit or money to ex-Chief Hindley.
During the meeting held on Monday, November 24, 1947, Chief Anthony
Pilla reported no fires. Chief Pilla reported the new hose was on the
fire trucks and the telephone was installed. Chief Pilla gave a talk
on the proper use of the telephone when the fire siren is blown from
town hall. Russell Brown made a motion that a sign be printed with instructions
on the use of the telephone and be posted above the telephone downstairs.
Vice President Walter Schoeller appointed Chief Pilla to have the sign
printed and placed on the wall above the telephone. William Marsh made
a motion we appoint a committee for New Years Day. Ex-Chief James
Hindley thanked the members for their donation while he was ill. He
said it was put to good use. Albert Schoeller thanked the members for
the use of the firehouse for the Lions Club party.
Under the headline Heres How to Report a Fire Under New
Lawrence System, the Trenton Evening Times published this report
on Friday, November 28, 1947:
from each of the three fire companies in Lawrence Township have completed
the job of furnishing each township resident with a set of new telephone
numbers to be used in emergencies. The new fire alarm system went into
effect Nov. 15, 1947. All fire, police and ambulance calls are now directed
to the municipal building, where a member of the police force or the
night watchman maintain a 24-hour service. Heres the way to report
a fire. Trenton subscribers - Dial 0 and ask for the Lawrence Township
Fire Department; Lawrenceville subscribers - Ask for the Lawrence Township
Fire Dept.; and Princeton subscribers - Call the Lawrenceville operator
and ask for the Lawrence Township Fire Department.
For police and ambulance calls, Trenton subscribers dial 3-7049;
Lawrenceville subscribers phone Lawrenceville 1; and Princeton subscribers
ask for Lawrenceville 1. And incidentally, dont forget to give
your name and location on all calls. Direct lines to the sirens at each
fire company have been installed in the municipal building, which is
also connected to the companies by telephone. Location of fires will
also be broadcast to the police cruiser car which will proceed to the
scene. In case the fire requires two engines, police will radio back
to the municipal building. The operator there will then blow the siren
of one or both of the remaining companies. A large map of the township
has been installed in police headquarters to enable the attendant to
summon the fire company nearest the fire.
At 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, November 29, 1947, the Lawrence Volunteer
Fire Association were alerted to a structure fire on Eggerts Crossing
Road. According to the incident report, 900 feet of 2.5-inch hose and
300 feet of 1.5-inch hose was used and Lawrence Road firefighters were
on scene for more than two hours. The Trenton Sunday Times Advertiser
ran this account of the blaze on November 30, 1947:
fire reportedly caused by an overheated stove damaged a two-story dwelling
at 1098 Eggerts Crossing Road in Lawrence Township early yesterday afternoon.
The interior of the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Corbin was swept by
the flames, while the adjoining home of Mrs. Fannie Farwell was damaged
by water and smoke. The Corbins were at work at the time and their three
children, three girls and a boy, were alone in the house. They ran to
safety as soon as they discovered the house afire. The Lawrence Road
Fire Co. answered an alarm. Chief Anthony Pilla, seeing that the flames
were spreading rapidly toward the roof, called the Slackwood and Lawrenceville
companies. The three companies put out the flames and managed to save
practically all of the furniture from the two homes. Damage was estimated
at $1,500. About an hour later, the Lawrenceville and Slackwood companies
were called from the scene to a chimney fire at the home of Michael
Squirek on Bakers Basin Road at Lawrence Station. The fire was under
control when companies arrived.
At 1:15 a.m. on Monday, December 22, 1947, Lawrence Road firefighters
were called to assist Lawrenceville and Slackwood firefighters at a
structure fire. The Trenton Evening Times published the following dramatic
account of the blaze on the front page of that nights edition:
followed by an explosion, badly damaged the $100,000 plant of the Monmouth
Cold Storage Co. Inc. on the Brunswick Pike at Bakers Basin early today.
There was no immediate estimate of the loss on frozen food items by
individual owners nor on damage to the building itself. Total value
of food stored in the plant is estimated at $100,000. The refrigeration
system of the quick-freeze section was badly damaged and the roof was
burned off the main section of the one-story concrete and brick building.
from Lawrenceville, Slackwood, and Lawrence Road responded to an alarm
telephoned by Harry B. Holcombe of the Bakers Basin Road. Holcombe and
his wife, who live several hundred yards from the plant, were awakened
by an explosion shortly after 1 a.m. In a moment, one side of the building
was enveloped in flames, they noted in looking out their windows. The
Slackwood company was first on the scene with Chief James Smith in charge.
The other companies followed within a few minutes. Hoselines were laid
more than 1,500 feet to the Delaware and Raritan Canal down the Bakers
Basin Road. The firemen worked desperately in the below-freezing temperature
to save the building. The roof finally collapsed as fire ate away the
supporting timbers and water poured into the front portion of the building.
than 5,000 Christmas turkeys stored in the main freezer section of the
building were saved, including 3,500 packed for the holiday dinners
of employees of a Newark brewery. More than 1,100 persons have privately
owned food lockers in the place and there was some damage to their stocks,
according to Sanford C. Flint of Interlaken, president of the firm.
The balance of the undamaged meats and other products will be transferred
from the private lockers into the main freezer storage room, Flint said.
Investigation is under way today to determine the cause of the blast.
Trentons Signal 22 Canteen was dispatched to the scene in charge
of Chief Engineer Frank Robbins and the firemen were given hot coffee
Members of the Lawrence Volunteer Fire Association left their families
behind on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, December 24, 1947, to battle two
house fires. The first blaze occurred on Eggerts Crossing Road and was
reported at 9:15 p.m. According to the incident report, Lawrence Road
Firefighter William Marsh injured his hand on a nail and received
medical attention. Booster lines were used to extinguish the fire
and the company was on scene for one hour. The second blaze occurred
on Northbrook Avenue and was reported at 10:15 p.m. According to the
incident report, Lawrence Road firefighters were on the job for two
hours and used 300 feet of 2.5-inch hose, 200 feet of 1.5-inch hose
and three ladders.
Trenton Evening Times ran the following account of the two blazes on
Friday, December 26, 1947: Speedy work by Lawrence Township firemen
prevented a serious blaze at the home of Joseph Boscia on Northbrook
Avenue on Christmas Eve. When the Lawrence Road Fire Co. arrived on
the old Eldridge Farm, they found flames darting through a chimney on
the outside of the building. Chief Anthony Pilla and his men went to
work at once, but asked aid from the Slackwood volunteers because the
blaze looked serious. The fire centered under the weather boards near
the chimney, then cut across the building between floors and spread
to the third floor. It was necessary to rip off some of the weather
boards and to chop away some flooring in the third floor to fight the
blaze. However, the blaze was well under control when the Slackwood
firefighters arrived. Chief Pilla estimated the damage at $1,000. He
attributed the blaze to the defective chimney. That same evening, the
Lawrence Road Fire Co. was called to battle a blaze in a one-story structure
on Eggerts Crossing Road. An exploding oil stove had caused the fire.
The loss was estimated at $400.
Anthony Pilla responded to his final alarm as Chief of the Lawrence
Volunteer Fire Association at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 30, 1947,
when a car fire was reported on Lawrence Road.
The following news brief appeared in the Trenton Evening Times on Friday,
March 12, 1948: Fire fed by kerosene damaged valuable test instruments
today in the plant of the Hydrocarbon Research Corporation on New York
Avenue in Lawrence Township. A spokesman for the firm estimated damage
at several thousand dollars. Volunteers from the Slackwood and Lawrence
Road companies, directed by (Slackwood) Chief James R. Smith, were called
out at 1:15 a.m. A worker in the building discovered the blaze in a
laboratory. The firm is conducting round-the-clock experiments in synthetic
fuels. Radio Patrolmen Joseph Olessi and Wesley Gronikowski of the Lawrence
police investigated at the scene. Cause of the fire was not immediately
A pair of fires kept Lawrence Township firefighters busy on Sunday,
March 21, 1948. The Trenton Evening Times published the following account
on Monday, March 22, 1948: Fires that occurred less than 20 minutes
apart badly damaged two properties in Lawrence Township early yesterday.
Walts Holiday Inn at 28 Lawn Park Avenue is observing a forced
holiday after flames destroyed the bar. Prompt action by firemen of
the Lawrence Road Fire Co. saved the building, said Police Chief Joseph
Stonicker. The place is owned by Walter Harris. A barn and an automobile
were destroyed on the property of William G. Sloan. Firemen of the Slackwood,
Lawrenceville and Princeton fire companies fought the blaze. Sloan is
a former state Highway Department engineer. The Holiday Inn fire started
at 3:30 a.m. While the firemen were at that blaze, the alarm was sounded
at the Sloan home at 3:50 a.m. Capt. George Wood and Patrolman Hullfish
A photograph of Lawrence Roads newly-constructed electronic map
of District 2 was published in the Trenton Sunday Times Advertiser on
December 5, 1948. The photo was accompanied by the following caption:
Carl Sommers and Russell Brown are testing Lawrence Road Fire Companys
new fire-signal switchboard. More than 100 outlets and 2,800 feet of
wiring enable the board to show firemen at a glance the location of
a fire and the nearest water source in Lawrence Townships second
fire district. `The fire map is unique in our section of Jersey,
says Brown. `It even has advantages over the city fire alarm box system,
board is expected to be especially useful to volunteers arriving after
the fire trucks have left. A quick look will show them the best route
to the fire. The companys maintenance committee, known as Department
13, completed the board. Committee members donated their skills and
services and the materials. Chief Sommers and Brown designed the board.
Sommers and Thomas Hawthorne erected the board while Brown handled the
electrical layout and installation. The 8-by-8 foot map was laid out
by Joseph Vitelli. Joseph Csercsevits applied the trim.
members of the maintenance committee are George Welde, Steve Stanzione,
Harold Edwards, 1st Assistant Chief William Smith, Robert Edwards, Anthony
Pilla, Herb Jaeger, Joseph Toomey, Donald Baker, James Blaine, Charles
Wolfe and William Walter Jr. Department 13 was set up a year ago by
the firemen to renovate the firehouse. They have made necessary repairs
to the kitchen, boiler room, and engine room. Their work includes inlaying
new floors and table tops, re-upholstering the furniture and painting
the first floor. At the present time, the firemen are conducting their
annual campaign for funds in the township.