On Tuesday 22 January 2019 at 0031 Hours, the Flemington – Raritan Rescue Squad responded with the Raritan Township Fire Company and numerous other agencies to Becks Blvd near Neshanic Drive in Raritan Township for a possible structure fire. The caller was reporting a couch on fire. Raritan Township Police Officers Brett Szatkowski, Adam Swiatek, and Robert Schenck arrived on scene a few minutes later and confirmed a working structure fire, with fire venting from the right side of the home, and possible entrapment. The officers forced their way into the home and found an elderly subject on a burning couch. They quickly grabbed the subject and moved her to a window. She was passed out the window to safety. A second subject was found with smoke inhalation.
The Rescue Squad responded with BLS Ambulances 4954 and 4953, Heavy Rescue 495 and Technical Rescue 495. Mutual aid ambulances were requested from Amwell Valley Ambulance Corps, Lambertville – New Hope Ambulance and Rescue Squad, and Whitehouse First Aid and Rescue Squad. Clinton First Aid and Rescue Squad responded with an ambulance and REHAB 455.
On arrival, the crew of BLS 4954 immediately began to aid the elderly subject. The patrol officers radioed the ambulance to pull into the driveway to receive the patients. Once aboard, the ambulance quickly pulled out of the driveway to allow access for fire apparatus as they arrived. Due to her injuries, the first patient was transported to a landing zone at Copper Hill School and transferred to the New Jersey State Police NorthStar medevac helicopter for transport to St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. The second patient was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick by BLS 4851. Paramedics from Hunterdon Medical Center’s EMS-1 and EMS-3 assisted with patient care. The three police officers were evaluated at the scene by the crew of BLS 4953 for smoke inhalation, with all three returning to duty a short time later.
EMS personnel continued to assist with REHAB and EMS stand-by for the duration of the incident. These operations were aided by the canteen unit of the Columbia Fire Company #4 and Raritan Township Emergency Management. Two alarms and a water shuttle were required to eventually bring the fire under control. Rescue firefighters assisted with suppression efforts as directed. Branchburg Rescue Squad provided an ambulance at our station to help cover our area while units were committed to the fire scene.
Fire / Rescue personnel were clear of the scene around 0400 Hours. The fire investigation is being handled by the Raritan Township Fire Marshal’s Office, Raritan Township Police, and the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office.
Great job to the Raritan Township Police Department for a heroic rescue! Strong work as usual to all responding agencies for mitigating the incident, and special thanks to our EMS mutual aid partners for the assistance on a very cold night.