JANUARY 20, 2001
162 Review Avenue, Lawrence Township
At 10:58 p.m. on Saturday, January 20, 2001, volunteers from both the Lawrence Road and Slackwood fire companies were toned out to a possible structure fire at the Mills residence at 162 Review Avenue.
Chief John Fleming responded at 10:58 p.m., followed one minute later by Assistant Chief Wayne Hannon.
At 11 p.m., Rescue 22 responded with Capt. Gary Wasko in command and Lt. Chris Pangaldi driving. The crew included Ff. Michael Byrd, Ff. Joseph Dlabik Jr., Ff. Chris Dlabik, Ff. Kris Palmer, and Washington Township Ff. Frank Petrangeli Jr. (who happened to be visiting Station 22 when the assignment was dispatched).
Rescue 22 arrived on the scene less than one minute later. At that time, Wasko radioed a report that he had heavy smoke showing from the rear of the one-story home.
Directed by Wasko, Rescue 22s crew stretched a 1.75-inch handline to the rear of the residence. There they found that the smoke was coming from a brick-frame garage attached to the house. Rescue 22s crew forced entry into the garage and began to attack the flames.
Meanwhile, Snorkel 21 signed on radio at 11 p.m.
Engine 22 responded at 11:01 p.m. with Rescue Capt. Chris Longo in command, Ff. Michael Ratcliffe driving, and a crew that consisted of Ff. Tim Kasony Jr., Ff. Shaun Dlabik and Ff. John Cocciolillo.
Fleming arrived on the scene at 11:02 p.m. and assumed command. Hannon arrived about the same time.
Engine 22 arrived on location at 11:02 p.m. and laid 200 feet of 5-inch supply hose from a hydrant on Review Avenue to Rescue 22. While Engine 22s crew went to check the home for fire extension, Ratcliffe helped Pangaldi hook the supply line into Rescue 22. (Fortunately, the supply line never had to be charged, as the fire was quickly knocked down.)
Snorkel 21 arrived on scene at 11:04 p.m., followed by Engine 22-1.
Engine 22-1s response time was not logged. Engine 22-1s crew included Capt. Patrick Kent, Ff. John Britton, Ff. Karen Palise and Ff. Joseph Dlabik Sr. Ultimately, the blaze was contained to the contents of the garage (furniture, lawn equipment, etc.) and was extinguished using about half of Rescue 22s 500 gallon water tank. At 11:07 p.m., Fleming declared the fire under control.
Engine 21 also responded but before reaching the scene was ordered to relocate to Station 22 to cover Lawrence Roads district.
A Lawrence First Aid Squad ambulance crew stood by at the scene but there were no injuries reported.
Snorkel 21, after assisting briefly on the scene, was recalled at 11:30 p.m.
Engine 22-1 was released from the scene next and sent back to Station 22 about 11:45 p.m. At that time, Engine 21 was released from its cover assignment.
Engine 22 and Rescue 22 remained on the scene to assist with the investigation into the fires cause. The investigation (conducted by township police and fire officials, Mercer County Fire Marshals Office, and Mercer County Prosecutors Office) concluded that the fire had been of accidental origin.
Deputy Chief Richard Farletta (who arrived on scene with his son, Junior Ff. Matt Farletta, after the fire was out) assisted with the investigation, as did Wasko (who is a detective with the prosecutor's office).
While the investigation was being conducted, snow began to fall. Within a few minutes, the roadways were coated with a slippery layer of snow and ice.
Engine 22 was released from the scene at 12:40 a.m., while Rescue 22 was sent back at 1:01 a.m. All Station 22 apparatus and personnel were back in quarters by 1:08 a.m.