On Wednesday, April 16 at 2227 hours the Blackwood Fire Company Station 84, was dispatched to the area of Central Avenue and the South Black Horse Pike for a reported dwelling fire. Blenhiem Fire Company (Station 83) was also dispatched on the first alarm.
Assistant Chief John Carlin arrived on location within a minute of the initial dispatch to find a vacant two-story masonry building approximately 100' x 75'. Heavy smoke was billowing from Division A with heavy fire issuing from a floor-two Division C window. Assistant Chief Carlin requested the all hands box be struck which automatically adds a F. A. S. T. and cover/move up companies. Based on the report that the structure involved was a commercial property Chews Landing Fire Company (station 82) was added to the assignment.
Upon arrival, Station 84 initiated their level one operations which dictates the first two arriving engines to establish water supplies and prepare to go into service (E-841 & E-842) and make an entry from Division A. The first due truck company (TL-844) was assigned to Division C. Chief John Vannoni arrived and assumed command assigning Assistant Chief Carlin to the interior. Assistant Chief Carlin and crews from E-841, E-842 and TL-844 made entry to the floor-two apartment through Division A with two 1 3/4 handlines. The crews were met with zero visibility and a partial collapse of the floor-two hallway.
As this building was vacant and scheduled for demolition Chief Vannoni ordered all crews evacuate the building and heavy water lines be placed into service from the exterior. TL-844's two bucket mounted deluge guns were placed into service and attacked the fire, which had now burned through the roof. T-824 which had been positioned in Division A directed their bucket mounted deluge guns into a large picture window on floor two. Two 3" "bomb lines" were deployed from E-841 & E-842 and directed into the floor two windows from Division C. A portable monitor was also placed into service on Division C from E-841.
Within minutes, all visible fire was knocked down, the use of heavy water lines was terminated, and crews returned to the interior to complete suppression operations. The fire was placed under control by Chief Vannoni at 2301 hours.