Bravest Battle Fast-Moving, Camden, New Jersey House Fire

With the temperature in the mid 20's and a wind chill of 4 degrees, Camden, New Jersey firefighters battled a raging 3-alarm fire.

Shortly before 2 PM on January 7, 2004, firefighters responded to a dwelling fire on South Dudley Street and Stevens Street, in the East Camden section of the City.

The first arriving units, under the direction of Battalion Chief 2, Mike DiPascale found a two-story, wood frame dwelling heavily involved with fire spreading to both exposures, both three-story frame dwellings.

A second alarm was quickly sounded.

Firefighters were in the exposure dwelling, making a search for the occupants, when a large rumble occurred and the main fire dwelling completely collapsed into a huge fire ball. The fire was now coming out of the second and third floors, and the roof of the exposure dwelling. At the same time, a huge power line which was connected to the fire building broke loose and landed on Engine Co. 9's apparatus, trapping one firefighter. He escaped uninjured.

Fearing a collapse of the second dwelling, Chief DiPascale ordered all firefighters out. After a quick head count, all of the firefighters were accounted for.

Car 2 and Car 3, Deputy Chief Quinn and Deputy Chief Alexander were now on the fire grounds. Chief Quinn ordered a third alarm plus a special call for an additional ladder company from Cherry Hill and an engine company and ladder from Pennsauken.

A high wind helped fan the fire and completely destroyed the second dwelling. The firefighters were able to save the other dwelling.

Firefighters were forced to lay 4-inch lines four blocks away for additional water to supply the incoming units.

Chief of the Department Joseph Marini arrived on the scene.

The fire was placed under control in about 1 hour.

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