On April 1st, 2000 a homeowner from Willingboro, N. J. was fueling his gas powered hedge trimmer in the utility room of his home on Charleston Road, when the gasoline fumes ignited a small fire. The gasoline had spilled onto a pile of clothes and after catching on fire the resident dropped the open gas can which added fuel to the fire. The fire eventually burned through the natural gas line which fed the fire in the garage area for over 30 minutes. Firefighters were dispatched at 2:59 p.m. for a dwelling fire and immediately could see a column of smoke from over 3 miles away. Assistant Chief Mark Robertson immediately requested "all hands", a FAST Team, and cover assignments. Engine 1611 arrived in 6 minutes and immediately led off with a 2" line and had fire now in the kitchen, family room, dining room, and exiting the front door. A second alarm was immediately sounded but only a second engine (1622) arrived and its crew went inservice with a 2 1/2" line. Both crews were able to push the fire back into the garage area and awaited Public Service Gas to shut off the natural gas. The department's 75ft. Squirt (1631) arrived and took "A" side of the house and our 95ft. Arielscope (1615) took side "D". The Burlington City FAST Team (9097) arrived and set-up on the "A" side. The second alarm of Delran, Beverly, and Mount Laurel firefighters arrived and checked the second floor and attic for extension along with venting the windows on the second floor. A 1 3/4" handline was pulled to cover an exposure on the "C" side of the dwelling. The fire was placed under control at 3:53 p.m. and the companies left the fireground at 7:00 p.m. Damage was extensive with most of the 1st floor completely burned and the second floor and attic sustained minimal fire damage, but heat and smoke damage was extensive. Firefighters did their best even with the active natural gas fire but unfortunately were unable to save most of the 1st floor. Also, there were no civilian or firefighter injuries as a result of the fire.

[This message has been edited by Assistant 16 (edited April 07, 2000).]