January 31, 2020
By: Dennis Symons, Jr.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–At 0900 this morning Hamilton Township Fire Chief Mark Antozzeski contacted Mercer County Central and signed off radio for the last time before backing the chief’s vehicle into the station. The Chief was surrounded by firefighters and a large flag was draped from Truck 17 during the event. Chief Antozzeski has been with the department since 1991.
After the ceremony at the day room table I had an opportunity to talk to the chief about some past significant calls in the township. One of the calls was during 2001 terrorist attacks Anthrax was sent though the Hamilton Township Postal Facility. The call was a major operation bringing Federal, State and Local agencies to the scene. The fire department was on scene for at least three days. We discussed that all the different Federal, State and Local agencies at the time did not regularly work together had little to no compatible communication capabilities or structure. The scene command structure was set up by the fire department using the Incident Command System (ICS) portable radios and a command post was set up to run the operation efficiently while hazardous materials teams and investigators went about their work.
Another signifigant call was “The Barrel” April 6, 1999 fire at the Country Barrel Inn in the Crosswicks area section of town. Chief Antozzeski was fire captain for that fire. We were able to discuss some other local fires prior being dispatched to Upper Freehold Township on a mutual aid call.
We wish Chief Antozzeski a great retirement and while I was working at Robbinsville (before I retired) it was a pleasure working with you. Good luck in the future and enjoy your retirement.