May 19, 2023
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.
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