24 March 1982
Former Alfred Foulet Home Damaged by Fire
The origin of the fire that partially destroyed the former Alfred Foulet colonial home at 181 Cherry Hill Road early Tuesday morning has been labeled “very suspicious” by Princeton Fire Chief Raymond Wadsworth and Mercer County fire investigators.
Now owned by Princeton University, the house has been vacant and is boarded up. All three Princeton volunteer fire companies responded to the general alarm sounded at 5:30. The fire was brought under control at 7 and the estimated 98 fireman on the scene left at 8:25.
One small wing on the west side of the house was completely gutted and the rest of the interior sustained smoke and water damage. Chief Wadsworth reported that the structure would be restored by the university.
Although the university had earlier removed many valuable antiques from the home, Chief Wadsworth said that others were still inside when the fire occurred.
In a related incident. Township police last week arrested three men and charged them with trespassing on the property. Also charged with burglary and theft are John D. Bauer, 21, of Ewing Township; Alexander H. Dziewa, 20. and Clinton R. Eastmead, 19, both of Trenton. They were arrested last Wednesday morning at 10:45 by Ptl. John Clausen on the grounds of the Foulet estate.
A further investigation revealed that the three appeared to have entered the home by removing a plywood barrier from a rear door. Police said that an antique marble table had been placed in the rear of a truck that had been driven up the narrow drive leading to the home. After being charged the three suspects were released in their own recognizance. They are scheduled to appear in Township court this Wednesday evening.
“A Helluva Stop.” “When I first pulled in the wing was all gone and I thought we were going to lose the whole house,” commented Chief Wadsworth. “The guys put one helluva stop on it.
“You don’t like to brag but I’m proud of what we did…at that time of the morning plus the nearest hydrant being a mile away. Those guys did a helluva job.”
With the nearest fire hydrant located next to the Unitarian Church, Chief Wadsworth estimated that fireman had to lay one mile of fire hoses before they could reach the burning house which sits back some 400 feet from the Cherry Hill roadway.
After firemen had departed Chief Wadsworth, Mercer County Fire Marshall Joe Linhardt and members of the Mercer County arson squad poked through the smouldering ruins on the side of the house where the fire apparently started looking for dues. Also taking part in the investigation which is continuing is LL Norman Servis of the Township police.
The fire was discovered by Township police on patrol who noticed flames in the woods on the east side of Cherry Hill road. Investigating, the officers discovered the Foulet house engulfed in flames and called for a general alarm.
ARSON INVESTIGATORS AT WORK: Princeton Fire Chief Ray Wadsworth (at right in white coat) and members of the Mercer County arson squad probe charred remains of gutted wing, searching for clues to the origin of Tuesday morning’s fire in a Cherry Hill Road home.
“VERY SUSPICIOUS” FIRE DAMAGES FOULET HOUSE: An early Tuesday morning fire, described by fire Investigators as “very suspicious” partially damaged the former Alfred Foulet colonial home at 181 Cherry Hill Road. Story Page 4.