On the morning of January 30, 2005, the Township of Union Police and Fire Central Dispatcher transmitted a "Signal 13" at 3:26 AM for a reported house fire at 748 Lehigh Avenue.
The first due Company Officer of Engine 7 reported a two story wood frame house fully involved with heavy fire impinging on both the "B" and "D" exposures. Acting Captain Bondurich of Engine 7 forced the front door on exposure "D" to do a quick primary search while his crew stared stretching an LDH feeder and hand lines to cover the exposures. Coming up negative on the primary, he exited the house just in the nick of time as both house exploded and collapsed behind him. Three firefighters received minor injuries from flying debris in the explosion. All three remained on the scene to fight the ensuing fires.
Three injured civilians fled the original fire building and where transported via A.L.S. to St. Barnabus Burn Unit in Livingston for burns, smoke inhalation and lacerations. One firefighter was transported to the hospital and three other firefighters received back and shoulder injuries all due to falls from icy conditions.
Several mutual aid companies from Union and Essex Counties where called to the scene, along with a task force for cover-up.