Fire leaves local family homeless

June 3, 1994

Fire leaves local family homeless

Owners, tenant escape unharmed

By Hank Kalet

Staff Writer

A fire that started in a downstairs bedroom apartment and spread to the upstairs bedroom and roof of a Moore Street house has forced a family to relocate to a local hotel until their house can be repaired.

No one was injured in the blaze at 245 Moore St., which started at about 5 a.m. Tues-day. Three residents were home at the time, owners Norm and Dot Eiger and tenant Pat Fallon.

The fire extended out the downstairs window and climbed the exterior wall. It then entered the attic though an cave, according to according to Ted Cashel, joint fire official for Princeton Township and Princeton Borough.

The apartment sustained severe fire damage and an upstairs bedroom and office sustained water, smoke and heat damage, he said. He said the two-story white-brick house is “not habitable currently, although there doesn’t appear to be structural damage.”

Mr. and Mrs. Eiger, who have lived in the house for 26 years, said they would be staying at an area hotel until the house is repaired.

According to Mr. Cashel, the fire started when the heat from an activated two-burner hot plate ignited a pillow that had fallen onto it from a bed.

Mr. Cashel said that Mr. Fallon attempted to extinguish the fire but couldn’t. He then woke up the Eigcrs who notified the fire department.

The initial fire call was issued at about 5 a.m., Mr. Cashel said. All three Prince-ton fire companies responded, as well as police and the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad.

Capt. Tom Johnson of Mercer Engine Co. 3. who was one of the first firefighters on the scene, said he saw the smoke and I realized that this was not just a mattress fire.

“This was a pretty good stop,” he said. “The flames were coming up through the side of the walls.” The fire was brought under control in about 45 minutes, Mr. Cashel said, and units cleared the scene at about 8:30 a.m.

Firefighters were dispatched again at 9:48 a.m. when debris in the downstairs apartment rekindled. Firefighters extinguished the second fire in about five minutes, Mr. Cashel said. They then removed all of the debris from the ground floor.

“You can usually figure that there will be some rekindling because there will be debris and other materials that you can’t get to,” said Fire Chief Benjamin “Roz” Warren.

Mr. Cashel said the house lacked working smoke detectors, in violation of township ordinance. He said there was a non-functioning detector in a utility room. The township has not determined if a summons will be issued, he said.

He added that the township still is investigating whether the apartment “was a legal rental.”

“There was no kitchen, but direct access from the apartment to the main area of the house was blocked off by a file cabinet and other personal property,” he said.

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