Second Fire Suspicions At Tulane Street House

May 7, 1993 (~estimated)

Second Fire Suspicions At Tulane Street House

“We are looking at it as Jefiniteiy suspicious,” said Capt. Peter Hanley of a mattress fire Tuesday morning at an apartment house at 53 North Tulane Street — the same building that was extensively damaged in a fire Saturday night.

The police department’s arson investigator. Det. Ralph Terracciano, Borough Fire Marshall William Drake and fire investigators spent most of Tuesday trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Since the three-story wooden house gutted by the first fire had been condemned by the Borough Engineer and no one was living inside at the time, the origin of Tuesday’s 8:07 fire is suspicious. “We’re definitely looking at it having been set,” said Capt. Hanley.

Two firemen were treated for minor smoke inhalation fighting Saturday night’s blaze and a pet yellow Labrador retriever of one of the eight student occupants was killed in the fire.

None of the students was home at the time of the fire. Capt. Hanley identified one of the occupants as a victim of the March 22 fire that destroyed two suites in Blair Hall on the University campus.

Saturday’s fire is not considered suspicious, Capt. Hanley said, because it started in an area with no electricity. The origin is a first-floor living room and fire officials commented that the blaze apparently started accidentally in a sofa. The exact cause is still under investigation.

Police received several calls reporting a fire at the Tulane Street address at 11:45 p.m. Members in the first patrol car to arrive found flames coming out of at least one first-floor window. It was described, said Capt. Hanley, as a “roaring fire.”

The fire quickly spread from the living room up through the interior to the third floor and through the roof. Although the exterior bore few signs of an destruction the next day, aside from some roof patches, the interior and floor supports sustained extensive damage. The second and third-floor room. suffered flame and smoke damage, prompting officials to declare the house unfit for habitation.

Some 60 firefighters from Princeton’s three fire companies, assisted by members of the Kingston and Princeton Junction departments. had the fire under control in two hours. Some, however, remained at the scene throughout the night, Capt. Hanley said. All of the eight tenants are University students. The last was reported to have left the house around 7:30 that night. According to the Borough tax office, the apartment building is owned by Princeton Investment Company Ltd.

Leave a Reply