7 September 1983
Topics of the Town
GENERAL ALARM SOUNDS
For Apartment Fire. A general alarm was sounded at 3:33 Friday morning for a fire in a five-apartment dwelling at 291-293 Nassau Street on the comer of Princeton Avenue No one was injured in the fire.
A thin piece of copper wiring in the basement that showed evidence of shorting is being blamed by Ptl. William Hunter, the Borough’s arson investigator, as the cause of the blaze. “We’re not always as fortunate to find out the cause of a fire,” commented Police Chief Michael Came vale.
Police first received a call at 3:29 reporting smoke in the white apartment building. When police arrived on the scene, they found large concentrations of smoke pouring out of the basement and from windows on the First and second floors. Flames were visible in a first-floor apartment on the east side of the building.
Firemen from all three Princeton volunteer squads responded to the alarm and began to tear off the aluminum siding to fight the flames. It was obvious, Ptl. Hunter noted in his report, that the fire was racing up the inside walls toward the roof.
One of the apartments to the rear of the building, which is owned by William Hurley of Princeton, sustained heavy fire damage. All of the apartments suffered smoke and heavy water damage.
Ptl. Hunter noted that heat I from the fire was so intense in the basement area that soldering on the copper pipe junctions began to melt. An investigation by Ptl. Hunter and the Fire Chief revealed that the heaviest burning occurred in the wooden beams supporting the first-floor apartment.
As the investigation into the cause proceeded, it was discovered that an electrical wire had shorted out, causing a beam to smolder and then ignite. Police said the wire was not overloaded. It is believed to have been weakened when it was stapled to a beam during installation.
WIRE SHORT BLAMED FOR APARTMENT FIRE: A thin piece of copper wiring In the basement of a five- apartment dwelling at the corner of Nassau Street and Princeton Avenue is being blamed for this fire which routed residents early Friday morning. Here firemen and fire officials Inspect part of the aluminum siding that had been pried away to allow firemen to get at the blaze. Story this page.