Friday Fire Levels Barn 1,500 Feet from Merwick

3 June, 1992 (~estimated)

Friday Fire Levels Barn 1,500 Feet from Merwick

A quick-acting fire early Friday afternoon, which sent searing flames 70 feet into the air, leveled a storage barn that was 0 located some 1,500 feet from Merwick House off Bayard Lane. No one was injured but, the unoccupied barn, built at the turn of the century, was destroyed.

Police and Borough Fire Official William Drake have described the fire as possibly suspicious. “We are continuing to look at it,” said Capt. Peter Hanley on Tuesday, “based on some evidence found at the scene.”

Police, the Borough Fire Marshal, and the Mercer County Arson Unit are continuing the investigation, Capt. Henley said, because in addition to gasoline for lawn mower equipment that was in the barn, “we are trying to determine if something else was in there that burned.”

“At this point,” continued Capt. Hanley, “we’re just trying to determine the came. We’re not saying it was arson but suspicious enough to say we are continuing the investigation. There are no suspects; we’re not sure there was a crime.”

Mr. Drake concurred that he found evidence to indicate the origin of the fire was possibly suspicious. He has turned over his investigation to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

The initial fire call was remined at police headquarters at 1:10. Peter Root, a maintenance man at Merwick, the 93- bed nursing home unit of Princeton Medical Center that provides long-term care, said Nat he had filled a lawn mower in the barn with gasoline at 12:50 but did not notice anything.

An early witness said at first there were just some signs of smoke and it appeared that it would not amount to anything.

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