25 August, 1989
Light fixture blamed for fire
By John P. McAlpin
Investigators are calling the fire that destroyed an Alexander Street building in Princeton Township early Monday morning accidental, saying the three-alarm blaze started in a fluorescent ceiling fixture.
Three volunteer firefighters were slightly injured while working at the Audio Video Service Center, officials said.
The fire started in the ceiling in the rear of the repair area and was reported shortly before 3 a.m., Fire Commissioner Mark Freda said.
“It was a light fixture in the ceiling that started it,” said Mr. Freda, one of 26 firefighters at the scene.
All three of Princeton’s volunteer fire companies responded as did the rescue squad, he explained.
Princeton Township police were alerted when a neighbor spotted flames leaping out of the building, according to Lt. Mario Musso.
“She looked out of her window and saw the flames and smoke coming out of the roof,” Lt. Musso said.
A second alarm hit police headquarters from a burglar alarm at the store, Mr. Freda said.
“There was no fire alarm,— the ‘commissioner said.
An alarm company had called in a burglar alarm for that site. Apparently it had shorted out and’ signaled the alarm,” Mr. Freda explained.
It took firefighters at least half an hour to get the fire under control and many stayed on for another two hours, he added.
“When the police had gotten there, a big picture window that faced the gas station had already blown out,” Mr. Freda said.
During the fire, two volunteers were taken to the Medical Center at Princeton. Firefighter Dan Tomalin was treated for heat exhaustion and Kevin McCloskey for smoke inhalation, Freda said. Both were liter released.
Neil Hunter checked into the medical center the next morning morning and was treated for a sprained back.
“He was working on the roof with a power saw trying to cut holes,” Mr. Freda said.
“He was twisting and turning, working at odd angles when the saw went one way and he went the other,” the commissioner added.
Staff photo • Patti Sapone
Blown-out windows at the Audio Video Service Center were covered Tuesday, a day after an accidental fire destroyed the Alexander Street building.
Accord reached on rates
Princetonians eye 12% rate hike
By John P. McAlpin
Princeton residents will not see the rate hikes by the Elizabethtown Water Co. that official; feared would skyrocket utility bills and raise property taxes.
Under a settlement unveiled by borough had township officials Thursday afternoon, residents could see at least a 12 percent-jump in their water bills-neat year.
Negotiated by attorney R. William Potter, the agreement features not only a reduced schedule of increases, but also a detailed list of improvements to be made to Elizabethtown waterworks.
The increases “will be fair and equitable.” borough Mayor. Barbara Sigmund said in making the announcement along with Princeton Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand.
“We are satisfied that there is a schedule for the repairs and additions to the system that the Elizabethtown Water Co. has agreed to. It will ensure that the citizens of Princeton will not suffer the kind of water crisis they suffered in the summer of 1988,” Mayor Sigmund said.
The Princetons balked earlier this year when the utility company applied with the state Board of Public. Utilities for an overall rate hike to individual customers of 17 percent.
Elizabethtown also told the two Princeton’s that they were to pay an additional 132 percent for two years for the use of fire hydrants and their maintenance.
That charge would have been passed on to residents in the form of $100,000 added to the township’s municipal budget and $33,500 extra for the borough.
In each instance, officials saio,, Princeton residents would have to pay more for less services. “Princeton Borough and Township were facing a rate increase of 132 percent for municipal fire protection services— that was only half the blow,– Mr. Potter said.
This was an enormous blow — a rate shock,” he added.
Under the agreed “stipulation.” the municipalities are expected to pay 20 to 40 percent more for the fire protection services over a period of not less than five years.
Residents can expect at least an-increase of 12 percent on their water bills, but only for the next year, Mr. Potter said.
Under the terms, of the settlement, the Princetons can review Elizabethtown final figures which must be submitted by Sept. 18, he added.