24 November 1982
Collins, fire officials near fire plan accord
by Ron Bartlett
Princeton’s top fire official said “progress is being made” with the Collins Development Corp. In alleviating the department’s fears that portions of Palmer Square might be inaccessible to emergency crews in the event of an emergency.
Ray Wadsworth, Princeton fire chief, said this week that Collins “has proposed some changes to the plans” for the square following a meeting held Thursday. He declined to comment on any specific changes before presenting them at a Board of Engineers meeting scheduled for tonight. Wednesday, at Mercer Engine Co. No 3.
“Everything looks good, although I’d rather not comment until after Wednesday.” Mr. Wadsworth said.
Local firefighters had recently testified to the Princeton Regional Planning Board that two specific areas of the square —the underground parking garages and the inner residential units off Paul Robeson Place — might be inaccessible to crews if a fire broke out.
Collins, which will appear before the planners again on Tuesday, agreed to meet with local officials again before issuing a report on the safety aspects. The firm is seeking approval of a revised master plan for the square. :
Borough Councilman Richard Woodbridge, the fire commissioner, said, inability to reach an emergency within the base of the square could present a “critical problem” to firefighters.
“When you think about it. almost every building in town is accessible on at least one side.” the councilman said. “Our volunteer crews are very good, but we’re not full-time paid professionals. When you give us an exotic proposal like that, it could present problems.”
James Harvie, the vice president of, Collins Development Corp., said late Tuesday that the changes discussed were “mechanical things.” and not actual revisions to the arrangement of the deck area. He said Do Chung, the developer’s principal architect, was preparing a formal statement to the planners on what they intended to provide in the way of pump and hose facilities on the deck.
“Do feels we’ve provided what’s necessary.” Mr. Harvie said.
The fire department has recommended the purchase of a “mini-pumper.” valued at $30,000 to $40.000, be used within the square and other areas of town with difficult access. Mr. Woodbridge said the smaller size engine was scheduled for purchase a year from now, but he is recommending that it be acquired in 1983. He has also been negotiating with Collins to help offset the cost of the pumper.
“We have tried to get Collins to commit to a dollar figure, but we haven’t done that yet,” the councilman said. “We’d like to do it fairly soon.”
Mr. Harvie said that “all things being equal.” Collins would expect to contribute to the pumper, although he said, discussions are continuing.