Camden Fire Department
The Fires of the Summer of 2011
September 10, 2011
191 Ablett Village

After budget cuts brought on in great part by poor leadership at the state level from both political parties under Governors Whitman, McGreevey, Codey, and Corzine the City of Camden laid of a large number of its professional fire department at the end of 2010. Former Chief David A. Yates had offered three plans on how to cope with the situation, all were rejected by parties at Camden's City Hall, and a plan for the Fire Department, which to date I have not been able to find out who authored, was handed back to the Chief. Chief Yates subsequently chose to retire, and Chief Michael Harper was appointed as his replacement. Chief Harper inherited a no-win situation, and the losses began almost immediately. With Fire companies closed in different parts of the city, response times to fire calls increased, homes that could have been saved were destroyed, and civilians injured. 

June and July saw four large and abandoned industrial properties go up in flames, with one blaze, on  on June 9, fat the abandoned warehouse on Chestnut Street that formerly housed the Reliable Tire Company, going to 12 alarms.  Ten occupied homes were completely destroyed, as were all the industrial buildings, and thirteen other homes on Chestnut Street were badly damaged by smoke and water. August was relatively quiet, fire-wise, although the department was kept quite busy with other calls, including two jobs relating to the earthquake and numerous non-fire runs relating to Hurricane Irene.

Shortly after roll call on the morning of August 26th, the Camden Fire Department was summoned to fight a fire in the 500 block of Jackson Street. Four vacant units, 547, 549, 551, and 553 Jackson Street, were destroyed.

Ten minutes before roll call on Friday, 500 block of Jackson Street. Received a few calls for fire in a vacant. Battalion 1 arrived and reported fire on the first floor, middle of the row vacant, ordered Engine 10 to pick up the hydrant at 6th and Jackson, and transmitted the all hands. Car 3 reported at 10 minutes heavy fire 1st and 2nd floors, companies opening up, fire extending to Bravo and Delta exposures. At 20 minutes Car 3 reported multiple handlines stretched and operating, fire conditions still on 1st and 2nd floors. Original fire building 549 Jackson Street. Responding companies were Squad 7, Engine 10, Ladder 1, Ladder 3, Rescue 1, Battalion 1. On the all hands - Engine 1, Engine 9, and Car 3. At 30 minutes Car 3 reported still operating with multiple handlines, making good progress, fire probable will hold. At 40 minutes Car 3 placed fire under control. Time received 0650 hours, Fire under control 0632 hours.

The quiet time for for fires ended on September 9, 2011 with a bedroom fire at 3037 Mount Ephraim Avenue. 

Companies dispatched to 3037 Mt. Ephraim Avenue at 1547 hours, report of smoke from windows. Initial dispatch - Engine 10, Squad 7, Ladder 1, Ladder 3, Rescue 1 Battalion 1. Upon receiving more calls reporting same Engine 1 was added as the second source Engine. Battalion 1 arrived with smoke showing, Engine 10 had a hydrant and was stretching a handline, Rescue 1 was conducting a primary search, and ladder 1 would open up 2nd Floor upon arrival. Car 3 responded and took command. Searches were negative, fire under control at 1610 hours, Fire marshal requested to respond.

This fire is being investigated as an arson. Witnesses saw youths running from the property at the time the fire broke out.

Twenty-four hours and some odd minutes later, the Camden Fire Department would be called on again, to put out a kitchen fire at 191 Ablett Village. 

Calls for smoke from Apartment 191 Ablett Village at 1621 hours. Initial dispatch - Engine 11, Engine 1, Ladder 3, Ladder 1, Rescue 1 and Battalion 1. Squad 7 dispatched as second source company. Engine 11 arrived and reported light smoke, being waved in. Battalion 1 arrived and reported Engine 11 was stretching a handline, companies operating with a kitchen fire. At 1635 Battalion 1 reported fire contained to the first floor kitchen, primary search negative, companies ventilating. Fire under control 1635 hours.

Many thanks to Fire Dispatcher Matt DeGailler for his help with the accounts of how these fires were handled.

As with the web page covering other Camden Fire Department events, if you can identify anyone that I've missed, please e-mail me. (I'm terrible at at names and faces).

Phil Cohen
September 15, 2011


Orlando Nunez

Battalion Chief Donald Johnson


Battalion Chief Mark Harper - Jeff Swan - Javier Matos 
_________ - Brian Emenecker - __________ - Kevin Folkman

Ed Stratton - ___________

Ed Stratton  

Larry Reese - Israel Velez - Tonie Nieves

Tony Nieves Israel Velez


Anthony Church

Tony Nieves - Dan Payne - Israel Velez

Tony Nieves - Dan Payne - Israel Velez

Tony Nieves - Dan Payne


Ed Stratton - ___________

Brian Emenecker - Kevin Folkman

Javier Matos - ________ - _________


Andy Delgado - Jeff Swan

Jeff Swan

Mariano Pinto

Battalion Chief Mark Harper - Javier Matos

Battalion Chief Mark Harper Javier Matos

Mariano Pinto





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