Monthly Calls
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6 Newly Minted Firefighters Join KFD's Ranks

Tuesday, June 5, 2012  Congratulations to our newest Union County Fire Academy graduates: Firefighter/EMT Doug Gelsleichter, Firefighter/EMT David Spranger, Firefighter/EMT Michael Santoro, Firefighter/EMT James Ellmer, Firefighter/EMT Justin Peters, Firefighter/EMT Michael Paglioroli.

Also a Hoorah to FF/EMT David Spranger for being awarded the "Ben Laganga Award" for outstanding team building and leadership skills. And FF/EMT Michael Santoro for being awarded the "Chief Anthony Schepis Award" for unwavering commitment and drive for excellence.

Well done gentlemen. Good luck the rest of the way. Stay low.


(Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)

(Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)

(Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)

(Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union)


"THE ORIGINAL" circa 100 years ago.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012   



KFD with NJ State Police North Star Medevac

Friday, May 11, 2012   @David Brearley High School LZ. This is only a drill.



Massive fire raging for hours destroys townhouses in Elizabeth

Tuesday, April 17, 2012   By Tomas Dinges/The Star-Ledger

A roaring fire consumed three townhouses in Elizabeth tonight, injuring three people and leaving many families homeless as firefighters from nine companies battled to bring it under control, officials said.

Firefighters from Essex and Union counties pumped water onto the blaze for more than two hours after it began around 8:30 p.m. at Fairmount and Monroe avenues, Elizabeth Fire Chief Thomas McNamara said. The fire went to five alarms before being brought under control around 10:45 p.m.

Two people who suffered smoke inhalation were in stable condition at Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth, Mayor Chris Bollwage said at the scene. A firefighter was taken to Trinitas with a shoulder injury.

The mayor said the call came in at about 8:30 p.m., and by the time firefighters had arrived, two of the three buildings were engulfed with flames."It’s just a fast-moving fire," McNamara said.

The chief said the fire started in the rear of one of the buildings. It spread wildly after reaching siding made of asphalt and other petroleum products.

"We call it ‘gasoline siding,’ " McNamara said. "Once it ignites, it just takes off."

Nancy Burgos, 51, said she was inside her mother-in-law’s Monroe Avenue house when she heard a woman screaming outside.

"She was just screaming ‘Help me, help me.’ I tried calling 911, but all the lines were busy," Burgos said. "When I came downstairs and I opened the door, the whole building was already in flames."

"We heard something go boom and then when we looked up," he said. "It was a big fire in the back of the house."At one point, Bollwage said, the buildings — from which residents had already been evacuated — were in danger of collapsing. That fear grew so great that horns sounded from the firetrucks around 10:30 p.m. to tell firefighters to get out of the buildings.Her husband, Ramon Burgos, 50, said he arrived at his mother’s house around 8:30 p.m.

By midnight, two of the buildings had collapsed. An hour earlier, flames had finally stopped shooting into the sky — though there were still some inside one of the townhouses.

More than a dozen buildings in the area also were evacuated, the mayor said: six to eight on Adams Street, six to eight on Monroe Avenue and one on Fairmount Avenue.

Displaced residents are encouraged to visit the Red Cross shelter at Second Macedonia Baptist Church, 1251 Fairmount Ave., the Rev. Joseph Louis Adair Jr. said.
On the outskirts of the fire, scores of onlookers battled intense smoke being blown by shifting winds.

Fire companies from Elizabeth, Union, Newark, Hillside, Kenilworth, Cranford, Clark, Linden and Roselle Park were at the scene, officials said.

Click for Video 1, Video 2Video 3Video 4

Kenilworth Truck 3 crew operated on the 3rd floor of exposure B2 with a Newark Engine Company- backing out when the evacuation tones were sounded. T3 crew then operated an exposure line on the Charlie Side for the remainder of the incident.


Faimount and Monroe, Elizabeth

Faimount and Monroe, Elizabeth


Firefighters battle Roselle Park blaze for over two hours

Friday, March 23, 2012  By Suburban News

ROSELLE PARK - It took firefighters more than two hours to bring a blaze at a Chestnut Street home under control, officials said today.

Roselle Park police officers were the first to respond to the house fire on the 600 block of Chestnut Street at 11:16 a.m. today. Patrolmen Robert Sobocinski and Nicholas Vaughan saw flames coming through the roof of a single family house located at 608 Chestnut St., police said

The officers forced entry through the rear door in an attempt to locate the residents. A quick search of the first and second floors revealed no occupants. The officers were forced to retreat because of the heat and smoke in the house and were unable to search the attic area, police reported.

The Roselle Park Fire Department responded and battled the fire for over two hours, being assisted at the scene by the Kenilworth, Elizabeth and Union fire departments. No injuries were reported during the incident. 

The cause of the fire is undetermined and it is currently under investigation by the Union County Arson Squad, police said.



Westfield Fire goes to 6-Alarms

Westfield, NJ 1/22/12 photo by Star-Ledger staff

Westfield, NJ 1/22/12 photo by
      Star-Ledger staff

Sunday, January 22, 2012  WESTFIELD-Star-Ledger Staff — A five-alarm fire swept through several stores in Westfield today, destroying the buildings and robbing the Union County neighborhood of some of its local flavor.No one was injured in the blaze, which began at 3:25 p.m., according to Westfield Fire Chief Daniel Kelly.

Firefighters arrived on scene shortly afterward and found Clyne & Murphy Catering, at the intersection of South Avenue and Westfield Avenue, engulfed in flames.

The fire spread through the roof into the surrounding businesses — eight in total — before it was finally brought under control around 6:15 p.m., Kelly said. But much damage had already been done....

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Crews Bring Out the Big Gun

By Julia Terruso/The Star-Ledger

By Julia Terruso/The Star-Ledger

Saturday, January 14, 2012  By Julia Terruso/The Star-Ledger
Firefighters still battling the stubborn Elizabeth warehouse blaze brought in the big gun today."We call it the Iron Man. It’s extremely powerful," said Elizabeth Deputy Fire Chief Lathey Wirkus. The Iron Man is a white cannon-shaped hose that can shoot 8,000 gallons of water per minute up to 450 feet. Eight companies participated in today’s coordinated attack, feeding water from six hoses into one 12-inch hose that hooks up to the Iron Man nozzle. Three firefighters steered the nozzle, maneuvering it to knock out windows and concrete to reach the remaining hot spots in the warehouse at 819 Newark Ave. The highly choreographed collaboration took four days to plan, said Wirkus, who added that he hoped it would kill any remaining flames and finally shut down the fire department’s operation. Firefighters have been on the scene for 25 consecutive days, he said. The blaze at the former home of the Burry Biscuit factory began Dec. 21 after a car caught fire in a basement. Since then, Wirkus said, Elizabeth has had 24/7 staffing at the fire, which reflared as recently as Wednesday.

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KFD Extricates Trapped Motorist

Friday, January 13, 2012  On Friday the 13th, a Cranford resident was traveling westbound on the Boulevard just passed Dorset Drive when a large tree snapped and fell on the roof of his SUV. The roof was crushed to the point where the Kenilworth Fire Department had to extricate the driver from his vehicle. He was taken to University Hospital in Newark with injuries. He was released from the hospital a few days later.

Story and photo by



First Due Union County Fire Mutual Aid Task Force

12-25-11 Summer Street, Elizabeth

12-25-11 Summer Street, Elizabeth

Sunday, December 25, 2011 0400 hrs By Adam Alberti /

ELIZABETH — At approximately 0400 hours on December 25, 2011 while companies were operating at 446 East Jersey St., Mutual Aid units covering the city responded to a reported fire at 723 Summer St. Upon arrival they found heavy fire showing from the rear of a 3 story wood frame building that housed the Vasco Da Gama Restaurant on the first floor and apartments above. Fire ran up the rear of the building rapidly and raced through the 3rd floor and roof. All companies evacuated the building as heavy fire conditions took hold of the structure. Clark and Roselle Engine Companies used their deck guns and Kenilworth Tower used its ladderpipe to knock down the fire. Several outside lines also operated. The B-side wall suffered a partial collapse during the fire and the structural integrity of the building was compromised. The fire took approximately 1 hour and 3 minutes to bring under control. The cause of the fire is under investigation. It is unknown if all occupants escaped the fire.

Kenilworth Truck 3 was assigned to the primary search of Division 2 and 3. After the searches were completed Truck 3 commenced ladder pipe operations on the C side of the structure.

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EdGray allhandsgoingtowork Video 



Massive Elizabeth Warehouse Fire

Wednesday, December 21, 2011  ELIZABETH — 

 Star-Ledger Staff/

A raging fire in a large Elizabeth warehouse has now compromised the structure and forced firefighters from throughout the region to battle it exclusively from the outside, a city fire official said this morning. The now seven-alarm fire in the former Burry Biscuits warehouse on the 800 block of Newark Avenue is spewing a column of dark gray smoke that can be seen for miles. “It continues to burn out of control,” Deputy Fire Chief Lathey Wirkus said this morning.“We were unable to make any headway” overnight. Despite the severity and extent of the blaze, no injuries have been reported, City Mayor Chris Bollwage. He said that fumes from the fire do not pose a health risk. “It’s a long fight,” said Bollwage. “There’s a lot of combustible material” in the building.The blaze began early Wednesday afternoon when Elizabeth firefighters responded to a car fire within a section of the warehouse, which has space leased to various companies, including a company that exports junked vehicles, according to Deputy Fire Chief Carl Heitmeyer.

Wirkus said the five-story building is structurally compromised “so you can’t even put guys inside. ”The fire appears to have started near a large storage area for four-foot pallets of small plastic pellets used for injection molding. And hours later the blaze continued to spread, eventually reaching the first floor and causing it to crack there, threatening collapse. con't FULL ARTICLE NJ.COM

Kenilworth Truck 3 was on the scene the first two nights of the fire. Kenilworth Engine 4 gave it a shot on night three.

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