TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Around 9:15 a.m. several 9-1-1 calls were received for a large column of smoke coming from the Trenton Water Works Filtration Plant on Route 29. Smoke could be seen coming from the rear of the structure as reported by many people in the area. Upon arrival of the Trenton Fire Department it was determined to be smoke from a truck exhaust at the right side of the building. Firefighters returned to their stations and determined it was several good intent calls.
Several posts made on Facebook and other social media were inquiring about the smoke condition.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Township reported that as of 12:15 p.m. on Friday, May 19, 2023, the building at 533 Whitehead Road continues to have fire activity with hot spots in multiple areas of the property. Whitehead Road and Sweetbriar Avenues are expected to remain closed through the weekend.
The Hamilton Township Construction Official has ordered the demolition of a portion of the property to ensure that Whitehead Road may be reopened to traffic. Utility crews have set up temporary arrangements for power to the area and continue to work on a long-term solution. Residents recommended to evacuate were allowed to return to their homes mid-day on Thursday, May 18.
The incident continues to be investigated by the Hamilton Township Police, Hamilton Township Fire Investigation Unit, and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. Any witnesses are asked to contact the Hamilton Police Division at (609) 581-4000 or the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office at (609) 989-6351.
SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–South Brunswick Police reported that on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, at 3:45 p.m., the South Brunswick Police Department Dispatch Center received a call reporting a fire in a commercial building located at 2 Progress Road.
Monmouth Junction Fire Chief Scott Smith and several police units arrived on scene at the single-story business within minutes and reported a significant amount of black smoke and flames coming from the roof of the warehouse.
Fifteen employees were in the building when the blaze was first reported, and all made it out of the building to safety unharmed.
Firefighters immediately established command and began coordinating resources needed to battle the blaze, while local EMS units responded to support the operation. Police were on scene to assist with traffic, and Office of Emergency Management personnel responded to provide additional resources and assistance.
Firefighters initiated an interior attack on the fire, but were forced to evacuate the building due to heavy fire conditions found in several sections of the building. Once the majority of the fire was knocked down, firefighters re-entered the building and used multiple hose lines to attack the fires burning in the warehouse. Materials stored inside the warehouse collapsed due to the fire and the use of water from hose lines and the building sprinkler system, resulting in a deep-seated fire that was difficult to extinguish. Firefighters began working in rotation to dig through the materials by hand and with the use of fork-lifts and skid-steer machinery to ultimately extinguish the fire.
As the scope of the operation grew, resources were requested from many other agencies throughout the state. County and State agencies responded to the scene to provide additional assistance, as did fire and EMS personnel from as far as 70 miles away.
By 2:00 p.m. Thursday, fire personnel were confident that the fire had been fully extinguished, and they began the process of demobilizing equipment. By 3:00 p.m., all personnel were cleared from the scene except the South Brunswick Fire Safety Bureau, which remained at the business to continue investigating the cause of the fire. At this time, the cause is undetermined, but not believed to be suspicious in nature.
Although the final tally of firefighters, EMTs, police officers, Office of Emergency Management personnel, and other essential workers is not complete, it appears that over 300 individuals worked during the 23-hour incident.
UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Sgt. Philip Curry of the New Jersey State Police, Office of Public Information told MidJersey.News that a crash occurred at 8:58 p.m. last night on Miers Road near Burlington Path Road in Upper Freehold Township. Based on initial information, an unknown Ford F-250 struck a vehicle and a pedestrian and fled the scene. The pedestrian sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to an area hospital. The F-250 operator has not been identified and this crash is still under investigation.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Dan Penix (who currently resides in Monmouth County, New Jersey) was a star athlete at Trenton Central High School back in the late 80’s thru early 90’s.
A standout Track and Soccer player for the Tornadoes, Penix went on to accept a Track scholarship to Rider University in 1991 and later served in the Military and even played the sport of Soccer professionally before becoming an Olympic Development Coach and one of the top Youth Soccer coaches in the country.
On Saturday, May 13, 2023, Penix took time away from his busy schedule and was back in his hometown of Trenton assisting, mentoring, and coaching up the youth of Trenton for the second time within the year. Penix’s efforts, in conjunction with the TMA Center 501c3 non-profit organization, put on it’s third Spring session of its Sports Builds Character Soccer/Training session, which has been sponsored by the likes of 2023 Super Bowl participants, The Philadelphia Eagles, held at the MLK Junior Middle School field in Trenton.
Alongside the TMA Center’s Founder/CEO Chester Jones, Penix informed the youth how he, like them grew up in Trenton and even attended the large prominent yet vacant school that stood in the background. “That’s the junior high school I attended as a youth,” explained Penix. “A lot of memories come across my mind looking over there … that’s Junior High School #1 (which later became the Martin Luther King Jr. School) … the school was huge and had everything in it including a gymnasium and Olympic sized pool.”
“I wish they do something with it (the school) … LOOK … it’s been vacant for like 20 years and is still standing.”
Penix, added. “The youth today don’t really understand the history and significance of this school.”
Unfortunately, just two days away from reminiscing about his former school, the NJ historical monument was up in flames.
On Monday, May 15, 2023 at approximately 2:15 pm emergency calls were placed about flames coming out of the roof of the school as the historical building burned down throughout the entire day resulting in a 5-alarm fire.
“WHEN I HEARD ABOUT IT AND SAW IT ON THE NEWS … ALL I COULD DO WAS SHAKE MY HEAD,” said Penix, who is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated which has a motto being “Culture for Service and Service for Humanity”.
“I’m glad no one was injured … After being up there for the event – I immediately contacted my dad and shared the videos and pictures of me there with the youth with the school in the background just yards away … Now it’s gone … I’m saddened and shocked … this one hurts,” Penix added.
For some, the loss of such a monumental stature within the State’s – should spark a movement for immediate improvement.
“Think about it for second! This building has been in deplorable condition for close to 20 years now, and it’s sad that it took something like this to spark a conversation to tear it down,” said Chester Jones.
“Our “Sports Build Character” program co-sponsored by the Philadelphia Eagles, have been held on the MLK Jr. Middle school field for several weeks now, and our kids have had to train on the field with this blight in the background,” Jones added.
“This is the reason why we are steadfast in asking for support from our community and city leadership to help the TMA Center create a safer environment that is conducive to the development of our youth, who have become desensitized to the unordinary conditions of our city.”
Dan Penix was a star athlete at Trenton Central High School back in the late 80’s thru early 90’s. A standout Track and Soccer player for the Tornadoes, Penix went on to accept a Track scholarship to Rider University in 1991 and later served in the Military and even played the sport of Soccer professionally before becoming an Olympic Development Coach and one of the top Youth Soccer coaches in the country.
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