MAY 13 , 2001
Bunker Hill Road, Lawrence Township
On Sunday, May 13, 2001, Lawrence Road firefighters took part in a large-scale search for a missing child.
It was 2:12 p.m. when Lawrence Township police received a call that 6-year-old Hector Lopez Jr. had wandered from his grandmothers house on Bunker Hill Road.
The grandmother (the boys legal guardian) told police she had last seen Hector outside playing on his scooter.
Officers began searching the neighborhood. They also checked the homes of some of the 6-year-olds friends. But all efforts to find the boy were unsuccessful.
At 2:43 p.m., police had Lawrenceville Fire Co. dispatched to assist with the search. Nine minutes later, at 2:52 p.m., Lawrenceville Chief Bob Brackett had Lawrence Road and Slackwood firefighters toned out to help.
Engine 22 responded with a crew comprised of Assistant Chief Wayne Hannon, Ff. Joseph Dlabik Sr., Ff. Shaun Dlabik, Ff. Kris Palmer, Junior Ff. Matt Farletta, and Junior Ff. Jamie Yates.
Rescue 22 responded next with Capt. Gary Wasko, Ff. Charles Commini, Ff. Walter Hlewicki, Ff. Michael Ratcliffe, Junior Ff. Joseph Savitsky, Junior Ff. Michael Trimble, and Cadet Ff. Ryan Dlabik aboard.
Utility 22 responded with Rescue Capt. Chris Longo and Ff. Joseph Dlabik Jr.
All units were ordered to stage at the command post, which was established at the entrance to the PSE&G facility on Bunker Hill Road.
Joining Lawrence Roads apparatus at the staging area were Rescue 23, Utility 23, Engine 21-1 and Utility 21. Ambulance 129-1 also responded to staging.
Firefighters were given a description of the missing child, and then were sent out in teams to search the area.
Engine 22s crew was directed to check the Stewards Crossing development, and Rescue 22s crew was ordered to search the Lawrenceville Point development. All streets were thoroughly checked, and bystanders were asked in they had seen the boy. Firefighters then extended the search into the surrounding wooded areas.
Utility 22, meanwhile, also searched the neighborhood, including an old trolley path running through the woods.
At 3:08 p.m., Brackett requested that an engine from Prospect Heights Fire Co. be dispatched to help check the woods off Eggerts Crossing Road and at the end of Green Lane in Ewing Township. Engine 31-1 eventually responded.
At 3:50 p.m., police received word from a family friend that the missing boy might have gone fishing with his father without telling his grandmother. At that time, Brackett ordered all apparatus to return to the command post to await confirmation from the police.
A short time later, police confirmed that Hector was safe with his father in Trenton. All apparatus was then recalled and all Lawrence Road personnel were back in quarters by 4:07 p.m.