12/17 GENERAL ALARM MEDICAL PLAZA FIRE
At 5:31 PM, Jakelands Bravest were dispatched to the Sanzari Medical Plaza at 360 Oradell Ave. When Engine 9 arrived on scene first, they found heavy fire throughout the medical plaza building and the two store fronts on the first floor (Turtles Pizzeria and Red Dragon Take Out). Firefighters attempted to make an interior attack on the fire and perform a search of the building due to two people reported missing. Due to the intensity of the blaze, firefighters were unable to advance very far into the building and were forced to back out. Tower ladders were eventually put into operation to combat the blaze as flames tore through the roof. While Jakelands Bravest were battling the blaze, firefighters from Lego Twp, Riverwoods, Portage, South Palm, Rochelle Heights, North Lereado County, St Lego and Buena Vista responded to cover empty firehouses across the city. The two missing people unfortunately perished. A nurse at the Occupational Health Office on the third floor of the medical building, Ann Marie Vincenzi, was killed. Michael Donatello, the owner of Turtles Pizzeria, also died. The cause of the fire was determined by the County Prosecutors Office Arson Squad to be illegal tampering with the gas lines inside the pizzeria. It appears that Michael Donatello was attempting to rig up piping on the gas line by the meter, possibly an attempt to lower his gas bill. As he was attempting this, he used a welding torch which caused the gas line to explode and consume the whole building. All Jakeland Fire Dept. units operated at this fire. This was Jakelands biggest fire in 2015 and the biggest since the Dyson Chemical Fire on 3/23/2013.
11/26 ALL HANDS HOUSE FIRE
At 1:10 PM on Thanksgiving, the Jakeland Fire Dept. was dispatched to 17 South Matthews Place for a reported house fire. When Engine 2 and Ladder 7 arrived on scene, they discovered heavy fire in the attached garage of a 2.5 story split level single family dwelling. Engine 2 stretched a line inside the home to combat the flames from the inside. Ladder 7 began performing a primary search of the home even though the occupants of the home reported everyone made it out. When Engines 4 and 15 arrived, they also stretched lines to combat the blaze. Ladder 3 headed up to the roof to vent. After an aggressive attack on the fire was made using the hoses, the fire was quickly brought under control. No occupants or firefighters were injured. The cause of the fire was from deep frying a turkey in the attached garage of the home. The fire extended up from the garage to the second floor but was able to be held by members of Engine 2's hose team. All units that operated at the scene were Engines 2, 4, 5, 15, Ladders 3, 7, Squad 10, Rescue 1, Battalion 1 and Deputy 4.
10/30 MISCHIEF NIGHT
Jakelands Bravest were kept busy once again on Mischief Night. Surrounding agencies were also busy with incidents and needed units from Jakeland to assist. Multiple incidents occurred in the city ranging from rubbish/trash fires to a fully involved structure fire. At 10:22 PM, Jakeland Police were dispatched to the area of First Street and Central Avenue for a large group creating a disturbance. When officers arrived, they found a large crowd looting multiple stores on First Street. As officers attempted to bring the incident under control, smoke began venting from the George's Liquor Mart at 216 First Street. Firefighters were requested to the scene, but had to wait until the scene was safe before battling the blaze. By the time firefighters were able to arrive on scene, flames had already raged out of the front windows and through the roof. Ladder 3 and Engine 5 set up defensive operations putting Ladder 3's aerial in operation. Engine 1 stretched multiple hoses to place in service as Squad 10 put it's ladder in operation. The flames were able to be held to the original fire building and the incident was held to an All Hands assignment. All units that operated at the scene were Engines 1, 4, 5, Ladder 3, Squad 10 and Battalion 1.
10/23 NORTH ADAMS SECOND ALARM HOUSE FIRE
At 7:22 PM, the Jakeland Fire Dept. was dispatched to 99 North Adams Ave for a working house fire. When Squad 3 first arrived on scene, they found heavy fire venting from the rear of the home. Members of Squad 3 quickly stretched a hose through the front door to combat the flames from inside the home. When Tower Ladder 2 arrived on scene, they put their tower ladder to the roof to ventilate. Engine 13 stretched a second line into the home to the second floor. Flames quickly extended up through the roof forcing Tower Ladder 2 to leave the roof. Firefighters were unable to get a handle on the fire before the flames raged out of control. Jakelands Bravest were forced to evacuate the home to safety due to the flames intensity. Soon after the home was evacuated, the roof collapsed. Flames were sent thirty feet in the air threatening the home next door. Tower Ladder 2 and Squad 3 then put their aerials in operation to combat the blaze from above. A second alarm was soon struck to bring in more manpower to relieve crews. At 9:27 PM, the fire was declared under control. Crews re-entered the home to check for hot spots and overhaul. No one was home at the time of the fire. No firefighters were injured at this incident. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. All units that operated at the scene were Engines 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 15, Tower Ladders 2, 4, Ladder 7, Squad 3, Rescue 1, Battalions 1, 2 and Deputy 2.
6/10 CLIFTON AVE 3RD ALARM JOB
At 4:57 PM, Jakelands Bravest were dispatched to the Columbus Building at 487 Clifton Ave for a working fire. When firefighters arrived on scene, they found heavy smoke pushing from the first and second floors. Hoses were quickly stretched from Engine 5 to the basement and first floor to combat the blaze. Flames however were able to rage causing the first floor to partially collapse. After the collapse, firefighters became disoriented and were unable to find an exit. Firefighters who were in the basement became trapped and needed members from Rescue 1 to rush in and rescue them. Some firefighters were forced to make their way up to the second floor and jump onto ground ladders below. Five firefighters were injured. Lt Gregory Brown's neck and shoulders were injured after jumping out of a second floor window onto a ground ladder and falling to the pavement. Firefighters Chris Matthews and Larry Washington suffered second degree burns to their necks after the first floor collapse sent burning debris on top of them. Firefighter Natalie Porter suffered minor burns to her neck, shoulders and hands after she was attempting to escape the first floor after the collapse. Firefighter Vincent Nichols suffered minor injuries to his back after sliding down a ground ladder from the second floor down to the pavement. After the collapse of the first floor, flames shot up to the second and third floors. The roof eventually collapsed shooting flames thirty feet in the air. Firefighters then began combating the blaze from the exterior using master streams from deck guns, ladder pipes, tower ladders and multiple hoses. The fire was held to a third alarm assignment bringing in Engines 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 15, Towers 1, 2, Ladders 3, 7, Squads 3, 10, Rescue 1, Battalions 1, 2 and Deputy 3 to the scene. A rehab unit from Westbrick was sent to the scene to assist. Mutual aid from Rochelle Heights, Lego Twp, Riverwoods, Portage, Buena Vista and North Lereado County was needed to stand by at empty firehouses. The cause of the fire appears to be an electrical panel in the basement. The building which was built in 1920, was declared unsafe by the Jakeland Building Department and will be razed.
5/18 FATAL ROUTE 1 EAST CRASH
At 6:27 PM, first responders were dispatched to a motor vehicle crash on Route 1 East involving an overturned tractor trailer. The tractor trailer was traveling West on Route 1 when it lost control and crashed through the highway divider striking 2 other vehicles. A 4 door sedan was struck head on causing the 4 door sedan to overturn. A minivan was unable to stop and crashed into the cab of the overturned tractor trailer. The crash caused the engine of the tractor trailer to catch fire. The truck driver was able to self extricate himself from the cab of the truck. The driver of the minivan suffered minor injuries. Unfortunately, the driver of the 4 door sedan was killed. All units that operated at the scene were Engines 4, 6, Squad 10, Rescue 1, Batalion 1 and Lego Twp Rescue 1.
3/30 EAST FREDERICK DOUGLASS BURNS AGAIN
Jakelands Bravest were called again to 221 East Frederick Douglass Ave for a working fire. When Engine 13 arrived on scene, they found heavy fire venting from the front windows of 221 and 223. Flames also tore through the roofs and vented 20 feet into the air. No firefighters entered either structure to combat the blaze due to the structural integrity being compromised from the 3/26/15 fire. There were no injuries at this incident and the fire was held to a 2nd alarm assignment to the scene. A Lego Twp tower ladder was requested to the scene to act as the 2nd Alarm ladder since Tower Ladder 1 is out of service. The fire is suspicious and County Prosecutors Arson Investigation unit is investigating.
3/26 EAST FREDERICK DOUGLASS ROW HOUSE FIRE
Jakelands Bravest were dispatched to a working fire at 221 East Frederick Douglass Ave for a reported fire in a row house. When Engine 13 arrived on scene, they found heavy fire venting from a second floor window. An attack line was quickly deployed to the second floor to combat the fire. When Deputy Chief Ford arrived on scene, flames had begun to extend into 223 East Frederick Douglass Ave next door. A second alarm was then struck to help combat the blaze. Firefighters were able to quickly bring the fire under control and prevent any further extension. No injuries were reported. Photographers arrived late to this fire due to most news agencies and fire buffs responding to Manhattan for the 7 Alarm fire in the East Village. All units that operated at this fire were Engines 6, 7, 9, 13, 13, 15, Tower Ladders 2, 4, Ladder 7, Squad 3, Rescue 1, Battalion 2 and Deputy 4. The fire appears to be caused by a carelessly left cigarette or candle on a mattress. No one was home at the time of the incident. The County Prosecutors Arson Investigation Unit will investigate the fire further.
2/19 ROCHELLE HEIGHTS LIBERTY AUTO FIRE
Tower Ladder 4 and Engine 7 were both requested to assist the Rochelle Heights Fire Dept. with a massive fire at the Liberty Pre-Owned Auto Sales dealer on River Street. Tower Ladder 4 put its aerial in operation to battle the blaze. Engine 7 was involved in a massive relay of water supply to the scene from hydrants miles away from the scene. All the area hydrants close to the blaze were frozen. A fire boat from St Lego was requested to supply water to the scene from the river. Brick Twps Foam engine was requested to the scene to supply foam to Tower Ladder 4's aerial to battle the blaze. The business was closed at the time of the blaze so no one was injured. Unfortunately however, one firefighter from Tower Ladder 4 was injured after slipping and falling on ice in the road. A Rochelle Heights firefighter was also injured slipping off a ladder rung due to ice on Rochelle Heights Truck 832. Both firefighters were transported to North Jersey University Medical Center where they were treated and released. A total of 5 alarms were needed to bring this blaze under control making this the biggest fire in the history of Rochelle Heights.
2/11 WOMAN RESCUED FROM CENTRAL AVE BLAZE
During the winter storm, firefighters were dispatched at 2:24 PM for a working structure fire at 1515 Central Ave. When firefighters arrived on scene, they located a woman trapped on the second floor fire escape. Heavy fire venting from the first floor prevented the woman from climbing down the fire escape. A ground ladder was placed by firefighters from Tower Ladder 2 and the woman was assisted down to the ground. An aggressive attack was made on the fire by Engine 6, however, the blaze was able to extend up the walls to the second and third floors. Firefighters stretched multiple hoses up the fire escape to battle the blaze. The fire raged to a third alarm assignment bringing in mutual aid from Rochelle Heights, Lego Twp, Riverwoods, North Lereado County, Buena Vista and South Palm to cover empty firehouses. All units that operated at the scene were Engines 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 15, Tower Ladders 1, 2, Ladder 3, Ladder 7, Squads 3, 10, Rescue 1, Battalions 1, 2 and Deputy 3. One firefighter was injured after slipping on ice and injuring his back. A dog also perished in the fire.
1/10 OLD RIVER ST FIREHOUSE BURNS
At 1:37 PM, firefighters were dispatched to 155 River Street for a working fire in the abandoned Jakeland Fire Dept. Station 8. Jakeland Police Officers arrived on scene first and found heavy fire venting from the front second floor windows. Engine 15 was first to arrive and stretched a line to the second floor to begin an attack on the fire. Due to the possibility of squatters being trapped inside, firefighters treated the building as if it was occupied. Squad 10 arrived soon after and began a search of the second floor. Due to the deteriorating condition of the structure, firefighters had a difficult time getting to the fire. The fire quickly raged and began spreading throughout the second floor rapidly. A second line was stretched by members of Engine 6, however before it could be used on the second floor, the roof collapsed. Firefighters then quickly retreated out of the building and an exterior attack was made on the fire using two ladders and multiple hand lines. The fire grew to a third alarm due to the freezing temperatures. Local coffee shops and delis on River Street opened their doors to the firefighters so they could get warm. Mutual aid from Lego Twp, Buena Vista, Portage, Riverwoods and North Lereado County was needed to stand by in empty firehouses. There were no injuries at this incident luckily. All units that operated at the scene were Engines 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 15, Tower Ladders 1, 2, Ladder 3, Ladder 7, Squad 3, Squad 10, Rescue 1, Battalions 1 and 2 and Deputy 4. It appears that squatters had broken into the building and were burning pieces of debris to stay warm. When the fire grew out of control, the squatters fled the area.