Intense Heat

Town Topics
3 June, 1992

Intense Heat

So intense was the heat, said Princeton Fire Chief Joseph Meyers, that it was blistering the paint on their trucks.

The wood in the old barn was so old and dry it was like a match, be said. It collapsed in a heap of charred fragments, with only the chimney standing, about 20 minutes after firemen arrived.

Firemen from Princeton’s three volunteer fire companies, Chief Myers said, were hampered at first by a low water pressure of 25 to 30 pounds. Normal pressure is 80 to 100.

Once housing a blacksmith shop, the barn was presently being used as a storage facility, according to PMC spokes-woman Jane Kerney. In it at the time, in addition to the lawn mower equipment, were 250 plastic garbage cans plus some cable and electric poles that were to be used for the 39th annual Hospital Fete on June 13.

In April, Merwick was cited for 65 fire code violations but Ms. Kerney said that the barn was not involved. About 80 percent of the violations have been corrected by the Medical Center which has until August 31 to complete the work.

Patients at Merwick were not evacuated because of the distance of the barn from the main Merwick building, which was donated at the same time. Ms. Kerney said that the Medical Center has plans to rebuild at the barn’s location. It was too early, she said, to estimate the damage amount.

NOTHING LEFT TO SAVE: Firemen hose down the remains of the barn from every angle, but the structure and all its content, including some items for the June Fete, belonging to the Princeton Medical Center, were a total loss. A lack of water pressure at first forced pumper trucks to be called in from neighboring communities. Then the building seemed to explode and become engulfed in flames.


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