Category: Fire and Emergency Service

Large Scrap Yard Fire In Fairless Hills, PA, Sends Smoke Billowing Into New Jersey

June 30, 2022

FALLS TOWNSHIP/FAIRLESS HILLS, PA (BUCKS)–A large fire at a scrap yard in the Fairless Hills section of Falls Township send smoke billowing into Mercer and Burlington Counties this afternoon. The fire appeared to be coming from behind Mazza Iron & Steel a family owned and operated metal recycling company based in Fairless Hills. A large column of smoke could be seen for miles and 9-1-1 centers fielded calls about the smoke condition. Falls Township Fire Company along with many mutual aid fire departments were on scene combating the fire. Fire departments called it a “rubbish” fire on Solar Drive in Falls Township.

A video from Levittown Fire Company Facebook page here:

NJ Forrest Fire Service Reports 95% Containment Of 13,500-Acre Wildfire In Wharton State Forest

June 22, 2022

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service reports that the Wharton State Forest – Mullica River Fire has reached 95 percent containment of a 13,500-acre wildfire at the Wharton State Forest in Washington, Shamong, Hammonton & Mullica Townships.

There is an ongoing investigation into an illegal campfire which has been determined to be the cause of the fire. Anyone with information can contact our Division B office at 609-726-9010.

✅ Road closures have been lifted.

✅ Atsion Recreation Area has reopened.

✅ Batsto Village has reopened.

⚠️ Hiking trails between Atsion and Batsto remain closed due to active fire activity.

⚠️ Kayaking and canoeing along the Mullica and Batsto Rivers remains closed between Atsion and Batsto. Pinelands Adventures has suspended kayak and canoe trips.

⚠️ Wharton State Forest’s Mullica River Campground remains closed.

The fire was first spotted at 10:06 a.m. Sunday by a Forest Fire Service observer at the Batsto Fire Tower. The fire was fueled by breezy conditions and low humidity.

Structure protection was provided by local volunteer fire departments from Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean counties, we thank them for their assistance.

The public is advised that smoke may be visible for an extended period while firefighters continue to patrol and mop-up this wildfire. Motorists traveling in the area should remain cautious of smoke, firefighters and fire vehicles that may be working on nearby roadways.

This will be our final update on this fire unless there are significant developments.


Helpful Wildfire Terminology

🔥 Wildfire – An uncontrolled fire burning the different types of vegetation that cover the land. A wildfire is considered a “major wildfire” after it exceeds 100 acres in size.

🔥 Containment – When reporting on a wildfire a percentage of containment will be given, which will state how much of the fireline has been completed.

🔥 Backfire – A fire intentionally set along the interior edge of a fireline by Forest Fire Service staff to consume fuel in the path of a wildfire and/or to change the direction of force of a fire’s convection column.

🔥 Fireline – The part of a containment or control line that is scraped or dug to mineral soil.

🔥 Threatened – Critical infrastructure, roads, homes and commercial buildings that are in the vicinity of a wildfire.

Wildfire Update: NJ Forrest Fire Service Reports 13,500 Acre Fire Now 85% Contained, Routes 206 and 542 Reopen

June 21, 2022

The New Jersey Forrest Fire Service is reporting that continue to make substantial progress in containing a wildfire in Wharton State Forest – Washington, Shamong, Hammonton & Mullica Townships – which has reached 13,500 acres in size and is 85% contained.


✅ Route 206 – Reopened 11 a.m.

✅ Route 542 – Reopened 10 a.m.

Batsto Village, Atsion Recreation Area and all associated hiking and mountain bike trails remain closed to visitors. The Mullica River Campground and Lower Forge Campground are closed. Kayak and canoe launching along the Mullica River is closed from the Atsion Recreation Area to Batsto Village. These closures will remain in effect until further notice. Pinelands Adventures has suspended kayak and canoe trips.

18 structures are threatened. There are no reported injuries.

Motorists traveling in the area should remain cautious of smoke and watch for firefighters and fire vehicles that may be working on nearby roadways. Smoke impacts will remain elevated into the evening hours as winds diminish, and partial cloud cover moves over the area.

Please remember, “No Drones in Fire Zones – If YOU fly, WE can’t!”

Helpful Wildfire Terminology

🔥 Wildfire – An uncontrolled fire burning the different types of vegetation that cover the land. A wildfire is considered a “major wildfire” after it exceeds 100 acres in size.

🔥 Containment – When reporting on a wildfire a percentage of containment will be given, which will state how much of the fireline has been completed.

🔥 Backfire – A fire intentionally set along the interior edge of a fireline by Forest Fire Service staff to consume fuel in the path of a wildfire and/or to change the direction of force of a fire’s convection column.

🔥 Fireline – The part of a containment or control line that is scraped or dug to mineral soil.

🔥 Threatened – Critical infrastructure, roads, homes and commercial buildings that are in the vicinity of a wildfire.

NJ Forest Fire Service Reports 12,000 Acre Wildfire 70% Contained

June 20, 2022

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service reports they are making substantial progress in containing a wildfire in Wharton State Forest – Washington, Shamong, Hammonton & Mullica Townships – which has reached 12,000 acres in size and is 70% contained.

Yesterday June 19, 2022 at just after 12:00 p.m. the fire was reported at 100 acres in size and the wildfire has grown to 12,000 acres in a short time.

⚠️ Route 206 – from Chew Road to Atsion Road
⚠️ Route 542 – from Green Bank Road to Columbia Road

Batsto Village and all associated hiking and mountain bike trails are closed to visitors. The Atsion Recreation Area is also closed. The Mullica River Campground, Lower Forge Campground, Mullica River Trail and boat launches along the Mullica River are closed from the Atsion Recreation Area to Batsto Village. These closures will remain in effect until further notice. Pinelands Adventures has suspended kayak and canoe trips.

18 structures are threatened. Structure protection is in place and provided by local volunteer fire departments from Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean counties, we thank them for their assistance. There are no reported injuries.

Motorists traveling in the area should remain cautious of smoke and watch for firefighters and fire vehicles that may be working on nearby roadways. Smoke impacts will remain elevated into the evening hours as winds diminish, and partial cloud cover moves over the area.

Please remember, “No Drones in Fire Zones – If YOU fly, WE can’t!”

Local volunteer fire companies from Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean counties are protecting 18 structures from the fire. These photos are from the Basto area. Photos by: Michael Kamer

The smoke plume from the Mullica River Fire is visible on National Weather Service Radar.

National Weather Service GOES-16 satellite is designed to aid in fire detection. While wildfires, mostly of small size, are not uncommon in our region, a satellite signature like this is highly unusual around here according to the National Weather Service.

Tuckerton Borough Passes Resolution To Suspend Emergency Service From Tuckerton Volunteer Fire Company #1

TUCKERTON, NJ (OCEAN)–At a special council meeting late yesterday afternoon the Borough of Tuckerton Council passed a Resolution “Suspending Emergency Service From The Tuckerton Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 For The Borough Of Tuckerton And Providing For Alternative Emergency Service Coverage.” (See full resolution obtained by OPRA requests along with exhibits posted below).

According from documents obtained by by OPRA requests, it appears that on May 16, 2022 there was an inspection done and a Notice of Unsafe or Unhealthful Working Conditions and order to comply was issued within 15 days by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Office of Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health. The notice was for violations of the Respiratory Protection Standard for not providing fit testing for employees using MSA Ultra Elite self-contained breathing apparatus within the previous 12 months. The order states that the Borough of Tuckerton was previously cited on July 19, 2018. PEOSH concluded that the Borough of Tuckerton was aware that the items stated were not in compliance and therefore had repeatedly violated the PEOSH standard.

The Notice stated that the Borough Administrator and Fire Chief were advised via closing conference on December 3, 2021 that the fit testing records were outdated. The Fire Chief stated they had difficulty getting the fit testing scheduled due to COVID-19 hardships of the private company used to conduct the fit testing, however the Chief was unable to provide documentation of those requests. The Department remained out of compliance from May 2021 though the opening conference on December 3, 2021. Once the PEOSH inspection was initiated, the Chief was able to immediately schedule fit testing with two separate private companies. On December 10, 2021 CSHO conducted a follow-up phone call with the Borough Administrator and again confirmed that this would be a repeat violation. On December 14 and December 28, 2021, the members of the Tuckerton Fire Department were fit tested to abate the citation.

The Borough and Fire Company were issued $24,500. penalty from Office of Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health for violations that were abated on December 28, 2021.

On Monday June, 6, 2022, the Borough Administrator Jenny Gleghorn received a letter from Office Fire Department Preparedness Senior Planner – Emergency Management Fire, Donald Nelsen from the NJ Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety advising of issues at the Tuckerton Fire Company. The letter states that there was a meeting on June 1, 2022 and “not one of the items of direction needed were provided in any sort of bolstering manner to give the Division of Fire Safety confidence in the successful operation of your municipal fire department under the current circumstances. Seven points were spelled out my Friday April 22, 2022 memorandum to Chief Eggert for our scheduled meeting. Only one of the seven points were adequately addressed – number three regarding Incident Safety Officer certification of Firefighter Lewis Eggert Jr.” (See full document below obtained by OPRA request for additional details).

A Facebook Post from the Tuckerton Fire Company said, “The Borough Council took action this evening, we remain completely out of service, including the EMS portion. Here are the Council’s vote, Borough Attorney Christopher Connors reading the letter from Division of Fire Safety, and the public comments. We are overwhelmed by the amount of support this evening by both residents and business owners. You are the greatest !!! The first public speaker is someone who we can’t thank enough for coming out today. He was a CPR save last summer here in Tuckerton. He and his wife gave many years of service to the old Tuckerton First Aid Squad. Thanks to them also for their service.”

A member of the Tuckerton Fire Company stated, “All requested paperwork that was requested was fully submitted, the last of it yesterday.”


To view council meeting go to this link. 6/9/22 Special Council Meeting

Breaking: Tuckerton Borough Orders Fire Company To Cease Fire Operations; Removes Borough Owned Equipment

June 6, 2022 — Updated 9:50 p.m.

TUCKERTON BOROUGH, NJ (OCEAN)–According to the Tuckerton Fire Company the department received a letter from Tuckerton Borough about ceasing fire operations around 1:15 p.m. today. The Borough states in the letter that they are ordering the fire company to cease operations and remove Borough owned equipment because they are in receipt of a letter from the Division of Fire Safety stating that the Borough is not adequately protected by its volunteer fire company because of non-compliance with certain rules and standards. (See copy of letter below for more details).

A statement received tonight from Tuckerton Fire Company President Julio Cerrato said “At this point we have no more information available. The borough attorney advised the borough administrator not to release the letter from the NJ Division of Fire Safety until Tuckerton Borough Council has a chance to read and discuss it.”

Tuckerton Fire Department Facebook Page states: (this is an update to their Facebook post, since their original post)

As of about 1:15 this afternoon, The Tuckerton Fire Company is REMOVED FROM SERVICE.

See attached letter.

More details to follow as we determine what exactly is going on.

The Borough of Tuckerton has removed the fire apparatus from the firehouse without notifying us.

Talk about putting Tuckerton residents in danger, we get out for calls and are here for the residents of Tuckerton.

Any residents who would like to come out and express their support for the fire department can come to the special council meeting this Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at the municipal building.

This is a developing story please check back for updates as they become available. has reached out to the Borough of Tuckerton for a statement and at time of publication has not received a reply. has reached out to a representative of the Tuckerton Fire Company and was told that they will be able to provide an update after the company meeting tonight.

Please check back for more details as they become available.

NJ Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service Held

June 6, 2022

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On Saturday June 4, 2022 the “New Jersey Fallen Firefighters & Fire Museum Memorial Service” was held. In 2021 New Jersey had nine Line-of-Duty Deaths.

2021 Line-of-Duty Deaths (LODDs) in New Jersey:

  1. Atlantic City Fire Department, Anthony Carfagno
  2. East Orange Fire Department, Vincent Intiso
  3. Erskine Lakes Fire Company, John Jonker, Sr.
  4. Hillsborough Fire Company, William Shaffer
  5. Irvington Fire Department, Victor Melillo
  6. Jackson Fire Company #1, Nicholas Prioli
  7. Jersey City Fire Department, John Ruddy
  8. Kingston Fire Department, Dennis Shennard
  9. Middlesex County Haz-Mat Unit, Donald Trout

The New Jersey Fire Museum and Fallen Firefighters Memorial is located at 4 Polhemuston Road, Allentown, New Jersey 08501

For more information visit:

Petition About Trenton Fire Department Patch Circulating Online Reaches 1,227 Signatures

Update as of Feburary 6, 2022, 1,227 have signed the petition.

February 3, 2022

You can view the petition here: Not to Change Trenton Fire Dept Patches

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A petition about Trenton Fire Department’s new patch has been posted at has been circulating online and as of 10:00 p.m. gathered 799 signatures.

The petition reads:

We are urging the administration to reconsider changing our Fire Department patch and uniform colors. The iron fireman stands for the sacrifice we as Trenton firefighters’ are willing to make and stands tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. We as the members of this department understand the risk and sacrifice we make on a continuous basis missing nights, weekends and holidays with our family. If there were to be a change to our patch and uniform it should be based on a majority vote of all members. From there every member who wishes to take part in the development of a new patch should have the opportunity. Without allowing the members to take part in this change is detrimental to the mission and morale of the Trenton Fire Department. The members of this Department are the ones wearing the patch and uniform every shift and our input should be a part of this decision.

The Iron Fireman statue stands tall outside city hall, wearing the department’s 19th century uniform and holding a baby in his left arm. Below him, the base of the statue lists the names of men who died between 1883 and 2009. After Woods and fellow firefighter Robert Mizopalko died in August 1986 battling a three-alarm blaze at the city bar Shenanigans Saloon, their names were added to the base of the city’s Iron Fireman statue, which was built in 1892 and stood outside city hall since 1910. Our great Mayor Reed Gusciora added, “This Iron Fireman is important because it memorializes those men and women who gave their lives, and all those who keep our homes a little bit safer at night.” Please I ask to just listen to us firefighters who make the ultimate sacrifice everyday to not change our patch at-least hear us out and give us a option. This to us is a big decision. Please do what’s right and help me and my brothers and sisters on this department spread by sharing this and sign our petition just to show who stands behind us on this decision, help us keep our history in our great City of Trenton.

Slow Down, Move Over! November 8-14 is Crash Responder Safety Week

November 8, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–November 8-14 is Crash Responder Safety Week.

Nearly once every week, a first responder is killed while attempting to clear a roadway accident.

Under New Jersey’s “Move Over” law, drivers are required to reduce their speed and change lanes when approaching an authorized emergency vehicle. These vehicles include tow trucks, highway maintenance vehicles, sanitation vehicles, and emergency (fire/police/EMS) vehicles displaying flashing, blinking or alternating emergency lights.

Unfortunately, law enforcement, emergency response personnel, tow truck operators, and highway maintenance workers continue to be struck and injured or killed while aiding others on the side of the road because a passing vehicle did not sufficiently slow down and move over.

When you see flashing lights on the side of the road, slow down, and if it’s safe, MOVE OVER.

If you make the move, others will follow.

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission

New Jersey Statute 39:4-92.2

Procedure for motorist approaching certain stationary vehicle.

1. a. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle as defined in R.S.39:1-1 that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating red or blue light or, any configuration of lights containing one of these colors, shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

b. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary tow truck as defined in section 1 of P.L.1999, c.396 (C.39:3-84.6) that is displaying a flashing amber light, a stationary highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle that is operated by the State, an authority or a county or municipality and displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights, or a stationary sanitation vehicle displaying a flashing amber warning light pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2011, c.3 (C.39:3-54.27) shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the tow truck, highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle, or sanitation vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

c. A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500.

L. 2017, c.43, s.1.

3 Alarm Fire Reported At Big Snow at American Dream Mall

September 25, 2021

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — Multiple fire departments responded to Big Snow at American Dream Mall for a roof fire around 4:15 a.m. Upon arrival there was a reported “working fire” on the roof of Big Snow the indoor ski slope. Additional aid was called to the scene including Carlstadt, Secaucus, Wallington, Mahwah, Woodridge, Moonachie and many others. Fire crews charged a stand pipe system and charged hand lines to get water on the fire.

The fire went to three alarms before the main body of fire was knocked down just after 6:00 a.m. Fire crews are still on scene reporting that they have smoldering roof material on fire.

According to New Jersey State Police Sgt. Alejandro Goez, “The fire at the American Dream was reported at 4:15 a.m. inside the Big Snow ski slope. The fire was contained to the top of the ski slope and several area fire departments responded to extinguish the fire. The building was unoccupied at the time and there are no injuries reported. Preliminary investigation revealed that the fire has been deemed nonsuspicious at this time.”

Hugh Reynolds, a Big SNOW Representative said, “We can confirm that there was a fire at Big SNOW overnight. Thankfully there were no injuries as the incident occurred outside of our normal hours of operation. We are tremendously thankful for the quick response and efforts of the local fire departments in working to contain this fire.  As such, Big SNOW will be closed today while we assess the damage. We will release more details soon.”

This is still a developing story, please check back for further updates. MidJersey.News has reached out to Big Snow, American Dream Mall and NJ Sports and Exposition Authority for additional information.

From the Big Snow website:

Temporarily Closed

Please Note: We will be closed today, September 25. Any pre-purchased guests will be contacted directly and refunded.

Please note that Big SNOW will be closed today, Saturday September 25th.  We apologize for this inconvenience and any disappointment this unexpected closure may cause for those guests who were planning to visit today.  If you had a pre-purchased reservation, we will be refunding your order. We look forward to welcoming you back to Big SNOW soon. Please contact with any additional questions.

NJ Task Force One Deploys To Surfside, Miami, Florida For Building Collapse

July 1, 2021

WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The NJ Urban Search And Rescue Task Force One has deployed to Surfside, Miami, Florida for a building collapse. The team left this morning around 6:45 a.m. and was spotted in Robbinsville, NJ at New Jersey Turnpike Exit 7A with a police escort en route to Florida.

Known locals responding and/or on the team are: Brad Ladislaw, Jay Ryan, Joe Flynn, Jeff Barlow from Hamilton Township Fire Department. Lt. Michael McMahon, Planning Team Manager, from West Windsor Police Department. Scott Cook, Rescue Specialist from West Windsor Fire & Emergency Services. Mike Yeh, Task Force Leader, Princeton Emergency & Safety Services-Princeton Junction Fire Company. Trenton Fire Department Battalion Chief Dave Smolka, Technical Search, Deputy Chief Anthony Moran, Safety, and Joe Szabo, Rescue Specialist. (list updated as we get it)

Yesterday’s story about the deployment: BREAKING: NJ’s Task Force 1 Called To Respond To Miami- Surfside, FL Building Collapse

New Jersey Task Force 1 Deploys to Miami

New Jersey Task Force 1 (NJ-TF1) has been activated as 1 of the 28 teams of the National Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Response System and will be deploying tomorrow morning to assist with the rescue and recovery efforts resulting from the Champlain Tower Collapse.

NJ-TF1 is deploying as a Type 1 US&R Team consisting of 70 team members, in 21 technically skilled positions, and 10 ground support personnel. The team will be responding via; two crew carriers, three tractor-trailers, two box trucks, five F-450 crew trucks, two passenger vans, two K-9 units, two utility terrain vehicles, and a fleet service truck. A water rescue component of six boats with trailers and a water support trailer are also being deployed.

NJ-TF1 is deploying to a staging area in Miami, Florida. This will be the team’s eighth deployment as a FEMA US&R Team since 2016. The team has past experience in structural collapse from 9/11, Tropicana Hotel Parking Garage Collapse and the Hackensack Parking Garage Collapse among others.

NJOEM & NJ-TF1 continue to send our thoughts and prayers to everyone impacted by this deadly tragedy.

Our hearts go out to the brave first responders who are working around the clock in search of survivors. We’ll see you soon.

#ReadyNJ #surfside #miami #searchandrescue

Learn more about NJ-TF1 at

State of New Jersey

New Jersey State Police

FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency

Opinion: Police Radio Encryption And How The Media Got It Wrong Last Night In Trenton

Opinion – Editorial

May 30, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Years ago, my father would take me for a hair cut at Ralph’s Barbershop in Hamilton Township at the corner of South Broad Street and Maple Shade Avenue near the White Horse Circle. In that barbershop that was later renamed to “Ralph’s Hair Styling,” there was a shelf not too far from the barber chair that held a four channel police and fire radio scanner. It was simple back then– four blinking lights, a couple of knobs, a pull up antenna, and “crystals” were inside the scanner to listen to specific police and fire frequencies. On those Saturday mornings at the barbershop, you could read the two local papers, and hear the police and fire activity on that simple radio scanner. Ralph always knew what was going on in the neighborhood though the local media or what he heard live over the scanner and was a regular conversation of what was going on in the barbershop.

Today, radio systems have turned from a simple two-way system to multimillion-dollar trunking systems where radios cost thousands of dollars each and some have digital “encryption” built in at a more expensive cost.

Some agencies such as Trenton Police, Ewing police have used “encryption” for years to keep scanner listeners and the media from finding out what is going on in their town. Recently Hamilton Township has made a switch to an “encrypted” radio system.

For years prior, most day-to-day dispatch operations were not “encrypted” and special channels such as for SWAT, drug enforcement or Special Operations were always encrypted due to safety of the teams. Lately police have been moving to “encrypt” all communications, and not just the special operations channels.

Encryption becomes a policing transparency and accountability problem by restricting the public’s right to monitor public radio frequencies. The encryption is usually set up in the name of police safety and privacy.

Several years ago, I attended a NJ Division of Fire Safety Class called “Media and the Fire Service” and the instructor was a reporter and NBC 10 news anchor in Philadelphia. He normally taught the class to police organizations but also offered the class to fire department organizations. The news anchor stated, when something happens and there is no information available the media will interview someone or ask someone on the street as a source. He said sometimes they will get it right and sometimes they will get it wrong. As a public agency it is best to respond quickly as possible, so the correct information is sent to the public. The news anchor stated that police reported it was a lot easier to report the factual information soon as possible than fix mistakes that “sources” had given the media.

Last night, there was a fatal accident in Trenton, New Jersey around 11:00 p.m. at the Intersection of South Clinton Avenue and Roebling Avenue. Over the EMS Channel, it was broadcast that this was a pedestrian accident and when EMS and the fire department responded they were advised it was possibly a shooting. One of the EMS supervisors also said it was a shooting over the radio no other communications where heard.

Without the ability to listen and back up information that would be heard on police radio in Trenton, most news media that reported on the incident reported it as a “shooting” though reported “sources.” covers “breaking news” and goes to several active accidents, crime scenes, and other kinds of events per week to verify information in person. We also heard the report of “shooting” and also the report of a “pedestrian accident” and worded the article as a “possible shooting” since the preliminary reports were unclear. When information is not verified though an “official” police source, we have the information listed as “breaking” “unofficial” and other descriptions of what might have happened until it confirmed by official sources. also works with the local police agencies to post the correct information in a timely manner. There have been times when a police department asked to post something quickly because rumors were getting out of control and wanted to get the right information out to as many as possible to prevent a bigger problem.

Here’s what I’m getting at: In today’s media race to be first to report, two major television news outlets from Philadelphia got it wrong by not backing up the story with official information and reported it as fact in their broadcast. These are supposed to be “trusted” news sources and people take what they report over what the local media who does the fact checking first.

To compound the misinformation there are many “armchair” news outlets that scan the Internet for breaking stories and repost those to their sites to gain hits and popularity. These organizations usually do not go out and do their own reporting but work on the backs of other media from a desk or in today’s pandemic quite possibly their couch.

I believe that the major news outlets got caught up in a perfect storm by one emergency channel reporting a shooting that was thought it was at the time and using that as their source. There was no way to back up that information by the ability to monitor police channels due to encrypted radio systems. They did not verify that information by official police sources most likely due to the late hour and holiday weekend. Instead of reporting as fact they should have reported as a possibility of the two things that might have happened.

Most likely reporting like this will continue to happen in the future with the encryption of public safety radios. The Neighbors application by Ring is sometimes used as a trusted source and sometime also gets information wrong and starts rumors rather than fact. Just a couple weeks ago in Hamilton, the Neighbors application reported a person shot on a playground, unofficial sources told that it was a shots fired call and bullet casings were found but no person shot. No official public information was released by the police department about the incident. In three communities in Mercer County, you can find out more information from the Neighbors application than what is happening on the police radio scanner. supports the encryption of Special Operations, SWAT, Drug Enforcement, and other special radio channels that need to be encrypted for safety of police officers. The encryption of day-to-day dispatch and normal radio traffic, in our opinion, does not do anything except prevent transparency, open government, and accountability of policing. The normal day-to-day radio traffic should not be encrypted to prevent law abiding citizens from listening to public safety radio.

Opinion – Editorial

The original CBS 3 news report about the Trenton “shooting” that was really a fatal hit and run.

Related information links below about encryption:

Mayor says that encrypting police radio signals was a mistake

After police encrypt radios, City Council looks for ways to restore transparency


As Palo Alto police switch to encrypted radio, newsroom scanners go silent

Scanner shutdown: Local law enforcement to take dispatches off the air

Lancaster County to consider reversing 2017 police radio encryption decision

Charleston County law enforcement silence publicly accessible radio communications

Parade with multiple fire departments held for Mercer County Fire Marshal Jimmy Greschak and his granddaughter

May 1, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

WEST WINDSOR TWP (MERCER)– There was a huge turnout for a parade held for Mercer County Fire Marshal James “Jimmy” Greschak, and his three-year-old granddaughter, Friday evening.

The drive-by parade began at about 7:00 pm in support of Greschak, who was diagnosed with Mesothelioma in January, combined with a birthday drive by for his granddaughter, Abigail’s, third birthday. Multiple pieces of apparatus and other emergency vehicles from every fire company in the county, and even some other counties, showed up to show their support.

Many know Greschak as the Mercer County Fire Marshal, or through the County Fire Chiefs Association, County Firemen’s Relief Association, and County Fire Officials. He is also a 50 year member of the West Windsor Fire Company. Others may know Greschak as a Eucharistic Minister at St. David’s, a Knight of Columbus, a Ski Club member, and from other activities.

Greschak’s family expressed their gratitude for the parade, saying, “Drive By Support My father Jim Greschak, was diagnosed with Mesothelioma in January. We have been touched by the amount of his friends that have reached out or tried to reach out to connect with dad and wish him well. I would like to thank Chief Kevin Applegate and the West Windsor Fire Co. for their support in this drive by and through this ordeal.”

Message from West Windsor Fire Company:

A heartfelt thank you to all the Mercer County First Responders that showed up today in support of Jimmy Greschak and his family! Your support was uplifting to them during this difficult time. It was an honor to return some of the kindness that Jimmy has shown all of us throughout his career in the fire service. Thank you for brightening their day.

Anthony Greco photos:

AG Grewal, DEP Announce Lawsuit Against U.S. Government over Drinking Water Contamination from Military Bases’ Use of Firefighting Foam

January 14, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced today that the State is suing the federal government over its contamination of groundwater and drinking water resources on and around U.S. military bases and other federal facilities in New Jersey through long-term use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a fire-suppressing substance that contains toxic chemicals proven harmful to human health.

The State’s two-count complaint centers on excessive levels of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) emanating from the federal facilities. PFAS substances – also called “forever chemicals”– are manmade substances desired for their ability to repel water, oil and fire, and were commonly used to make products like Teflon and Scotchgard. Highly resistant to environmental degradation and known to accumulate in the human body, PFAS are associated with serious adverse health effects such as cancer. The chemicals are also known to negatively impact the immune system and decrease vaccine response.

Specifically, today’s complaint alleges that the routine use of AFFF at U.S. military and other facilities throughout New Jersey over time caused the contamination of public and private drinking water sources that provide drinking water to those facilities, as well as to communities located near the military installations, where both military and civilians families live.

“During Commissioner McCabe’s tenure, New Jersey has become a national leader in responding to the scientific evidence of PFAS chemicals’ impacts on human health,” said Attorney General Grewal. “With today’s lawsuit, we are inviting the federal government to finally take the risks posed by PFAS chemicals as seriously as New Jersey does, and to take appropriate steps to protect the health of military and civilian families who live near our military bases.”

“Federally owned facilities in New Jersey that polluted the environment through the use of aqueous film-forming foams must do the right thing by properly investigating and remediating PFAS-contaminated water supplies,” said Commissioner McCabe. “Governor Murphy and I are proud of New Jersey’s accomplishments in leading the nation by taking strong health- and science-based actions to protect the health of our residents from PFAS chemicals. Through this legal action, we are demanding that the federal government follow New Jersey’s lead.”

Affected U.S. military facilities listed in the complaint include Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (JBMDL), a tri-service, joint-installation military complex made up of McGuire Air Force Base, the Naval Air Engineering Station-Lakehurst, and Fort Dix Army Base. More than 45,000 active duty, guard, reserve, family members and civilian personnel live and work on and around JBMDL. The combined population of municipalities surrounding JBMDL is approximately 600,000 people. Also listed in the complaint are the Naval Weapons Station Earle in Monmouth County, and the former Naval Air Warfare Center in Trenton.

Among other demands made in today’s lawsuit, the State asserts that the United States should be required to address  contamination of drinking water supplies when present above New Jersey’s own safe drinking water standards for PFOS and PFOA – a maximum contaminant level of 13 parts-per-trillion for PFOS, and 14 parts-per-trillion (ppt) for PFOA – instead of using the significantly higher federal standard of 70 ppt. Limited sampling of drinking water supplies in the area around JBDML has identified, so far, three private drinking water wells with combined levels of PFOS and PFOA well in excess of even the federal limit – ranging from 152 ppt to 1,688 ppt.

The excessive PFAS levels can be traced to the use of AFFF products at federal facilities. AFFF products are mixed with water to form a foam solution, which is then used to extinguish fuel and other flammable liquid fires. Spraying a fire with AFFF creates a film that coats the fire, blocking its oxygen supply and preventing re-ignition. 

According to the State’s complaint, the U.S. government is one of the nation’s largest users of AFFF, with its usage dating back to the 1970s, when it was employed for firefighter training activities and to extinguish fuel-based fires at federal government facilities.

AFFF is discharged directly on the ground and/or tarmac during emergencies, as well as during training exercises, and ultimately reverts from foam to a liquid solution. In liquid form, AFFF travels to surrounding groundwater, causing contamination onsite and also migrating offsite to contaminate nearby wells.

Today’s complaint notes that, in addition to AFFF’s routine use in suppressing fires at U.S. military bases, additional, inadvertent discharges of AFFF have occurred – and additional releases of PFOS and PFOA have taken place – at U.S. military facilities through the testing of equipment, equipment malfunctions and “other incidental releases.”

Among other things, today’s lawsuit seeks to recover costs to the State associated with DEP’s investigation of the PFAS contamination caused by U.S. military installations, as well as expenditures made by the State or to be made by the State to remediate the contamination.

The complaint also seeks a court order requiring the federal government to remediate the affected areas to levels that comply with State safe drinking water and water quality standards for PFOS and PFOA, conduct medical monitoring of residents whose drinking water supplies have been contaminated in excess of those levels, and provide alternative water supplies to New Jersey residents whose drinking water has been contaminated. The complaint is being filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, which is handling litigation from around the country relating to AFFF, but the case may ultimately be decided in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Deputy Attorney General Gwen Farley, of the Environmental Enforcement and Environmental Justice Section in the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, handled this matter on behalf of the State.

Statement by US Rep Chris Smith on death of USCP Officer Brian Sicknick

January 8, 2021

On the murder of Officer Brian D. Sicknick by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)

“Words are inadequate to convey my sadness, shock and anger over the murder of Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick who courageously fought the violent mob that stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday.

As a member of the New Jersey National Guard, Mr. Sicknick safely deployed during Operation Southern Watch in 1999 and Enduring Freedom in 2003 only to be killed in the line of duty defending Members of Congress and staff and the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress. 

He died a hero and deserves our eternal gratitude for his sacrifice.

My wife Marie and I—and my family and staff—offer our deepest condolences to and prayers for his family, friends and colleagues.

Like others bravely serving in law enforcement, the Capitol Police face significant risks and hardship, including death, every day and absolutely deserve our unwavering support. The perpetrator(s) of this heinous crime must be swiftly brought to justice.”

Governor Murphy Marks Start of COVID-19 Vaccination Effort for Sworn Law Enforcement and Fire Professionals

Morris County Regional Vaccination Center Now Open to Frontline Health Care Workers, Police and Fire First Responders

January 8, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)/ROCKAWAY, NJ (MORRIS)–Ernest Doggett, III., Trenton Firefighter, who also is also an EMT, and rides Engine 6 as the Interim Captain, received his COVID-19 vaccine today in Morris County. Governor Phil Murphy was in attendance to observe police and firefighters receiving their vaccinations.

Governor Phil Murphy, joined by New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Superintendent of the State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan, Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, Morris County Commissioner Director Stephen Shaw, and labor officials, visited the Morris County Regional Vaccination Center today to highlight the beginning of New Jersey’s vaccination effort for sworn law enforcement and fire professionals.

All sworn law enforcement and fire professionals in New Jersey are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which is estimated to include about 55,000 individuals. These first responders are the first individuals in Phase 1B to become eligible for vaccination. EMS professionals, also considered first responders, are already eligible for the vaccine under Phase 1A as health care workers.

“Throughout this pandemic, our first responders have continued to save lives and protect our communities, and I am proud today that we are able to provide them with this added level of protection as they continue to do their jobs,” Governor Murphy said. “When we’re ready to move forward, this site will serve as one of six megasites for the general public to receive their vaccinations. With hundreds of thousands of preregistrations already received, we know there will be a strong demand when that day arrives.”

“We’re all used to charging head-on into potentially dangerous situations, but COVID-19 has added a whole new layer of uncertainty and change for all of us,” said John Alderton, a career firefighter and EMT with the Morris Township Fire Department. “This vaccine is the first step of us moving in the right direction.  Thank you Governor Murphy for bringing this vaccine to not only first responders, but hopefully in the near future, to every New Jersey resident.”

“These megasites will be able to handle a large volume of individuals as we continue to move through eligible phases of vaccination toward the general public,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. “The sites are part of a growing network of community-based sites that will help ensure fair and equitable access and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.”

“I’m grateful that Governor Murphy, Commissioner Persichilli, and the Department of Health have opened these mega-sites, and have made vaccinations for COVID-19 available for police and fire professionals across the state,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “Our first responders have demonstrated extraordinary heroism, dedication, and resilience in answering the call to serve during this pandemic, and routinely put themselves in harm’s way. I strongly encourage all law enforcement who live or work in the state to get vaccinated and help stop the spread of this virus.”

“We memorialized a lot of New Jerseyans over the past several months,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the State Police. “This vaccine will save lives. The fact that this megasite and sites like it around New Jersey are up and running is a testament to this collective team effort.”

“This vaccine megasite in Morris County marks a monumental step for New Jersey residents, particularly our healthcare providers and first responders who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic,” said Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill. “The collaboration across state, county, local levels alongside the incredible team at Atlantic Health puts all of us on the path to greater safety and well-being. I fought for vaccine distribution funding in the latest coronavirus package and I’ll continue to fight to get the resources necessary from the federal government.”

“This is a tremendous logistical undertaking by Morris County in partnership with Atlantic Health System and the State of New Jersey,” Stephen H. Shaw, Director of the Morris County Board of Commissioners said. “Our Offices of Public Health and Emergency Management worked tirelessly through the holiday season with Atlantic Health to identify and transform an empty retail space into a large scale, safe, secure regional vaccination facility. Morris County remains steadfast in its commitment to allocate the resources necessary to protect the public health. We anticipate being able to inoculate as many as 2,400 individuals daily at this facility. Our thanks go out to Atlantic Health for its contributions of staff and assets, Governor Murphy for his support, everyone in our Offices of Public Health and Emergency Management, the National Guard, our Sheriff and all the healthcare workers who have made this possible.”

“The arrival of safe and effective vaccines represents a landmark moment in our fight against COVID-19, making this center a place of hope and healing for our entire region,” said Brian Gragnolati, President and CEO, Atlantic Health System. “On behalf of patients and caregivers across New Jersey, I want to thank Governor Murphy and Morris County leaders for their tremendous support and partnership.  Together, we are taking the next big step forward in protecting our friends, neighbors and communities.  I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to receive their vaccinations as soon as they are eligible.”

“We are happy to see that Governor Murphy is moving forward quickly to make Covid-19 vaccines available to law enforcement and firefighters,” said Bob Fox, President of the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police. “His immediate response is greatly appreciated by law enforcement.”

“PFANJ fire fighters & EMT’s serve as the first link in the COVID-19 response,” said Steve McConlogue, President, Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey. “These environments are unstructured, unprotected and place our members near COVID-19 patients, causing increased exposure for the responder. Many COVID- 19 patients are treated by a fire fighter or EMT before they are transported to a hospital for further care. Additionally, fire fighters and EMTs often respond to emergencies unrelated to whether a caller has COVID-19 only to later learn that they were exposed to the virus. We are encouraged to see the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine made available to all firefighters in New Jersey, we have been on the frontlines battling this virus since March.  A COVID-19 vaccine is one of the best ways to protect fire and EMS personnel from this pandemic. Along with ensuring that the proper PPE is available, priority access to a vaccine allows emergency responders to have another tool to protect themselves and the community as a whole. Scientific reports have indicated that fire fighters, paramedics and EMTs are proportionately far more likely to contract COVID-19 than the general public due to their on-the-job exposures. We thank Governor Murphy and his team for answering the call on behalf of firefighters.  The International Association of Fire Fighters have worked tirelessly with federal, state and local officials to protect their members, and make fire fighters, paramedics & EMTs a top priority level for COVID-19 vaccines.”

“Our members battled through this pandemic since last March and we have shared in the struggle and pain with the residents we protect,” said Wayne Wolk, Executive Vice President, New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association. “We are grateful to have worked with Governor Murphy and his administration to be sure NJ first responders had the tools to safely provide the front line protection day in and day out.  Being moved up in the queue to receive the COVID-19 vaccination is another testament to that support.”

“I would like to thank the Governor and the Health Departments decision to listen to our pleas and move our states brave law enforcement and firefighters up on the vaccine list,” said Pat Colligan, President of the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association. “Our law enforcement officers, whether they were working on a cell block or responding to calls for service were truly “first responders” from the very beginning of this pandemic and continue to be the first on the scene on virtually every call for service. We are looking forward to putting this pandemic in the rear view mirror and we are sure this will help expedite that.” 

“We are very proud to announce that due to the support of Governor Murphy, along with the clinical guidance of New Jersey’s top medical professionals, we have completed one of our first mega sites located in Morris County for administering vaccines to New Jersey’s citizens,” said Pete J. Stilianessis, President, State Troopers NCO Association. “We’re very proud to have played our part in this very important milestone to recovery for New Jersey and the citizens that we have served throughout this pandemic. We are appreciative to have one of our NCO’s take the lead on being the first Trooper to receive this life changing breakthrough vaccine. We look forward to working with our Governor and other branches in government for further successes until we can finally return to normalcy.”

“The State Troopers Fraternal Association applauds Governor Murphy and his entire team for their aggressive, swift, and committed response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Wayne Blanchard, President, State Troopers Fraternal Association. “Since March, Governor Murphy has had to make many difficult decisions in order to keep the best possible containment of the COVID-19 virus. The arrival of the vaccines has given us new hope in curbing the COVID-19 pandemic and the Governor and his administration have been on the front lines and have been efficiently distributing the vaccines since their arrival. Today marks a special place in the history in the fight against COVID-19 as Governor Murphy has recognized the significant challenges and risks the STFA members face daily in the performance of their duties during the pandemic. To date, over 150 STFA members have contracted the COVID-19 virus and the safety of the citizens of the State of New Jersey depends on their health. We are truly grateful to Governor Murphy for streamlining the vaccination process for our men and women who must respond when called upon even during the perils of the pandemic. In addition, we laud the Governor and his team for the coordination of many vaccination sites but in particular sites such as the Morris County Mega Vaccination site, which has tremendous capabilities for safe, orderly, and large-scale vaccinations.”

Loss of United States Capital Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, NJ Native

January 8, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy released a statement this morning about the death of the United States Capital Police Officer who is a NJ native from South River. Officer Brian D. Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters. He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Sicknick was a graduate from Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools. He was also a Staff Sergeant with the NJ Air National Guard where he was a fire team member at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, and served in Operation Southern Watch and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Statement from Governor Phil Murphy:

“United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick embodied the selfless spirit of his native state. 

Officer Sicknick was a product of South River and a graduate of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools. Before joining the Capitol Police, he was Staff Sergeant Sicknick with the New Jersey Air National Guard. He was a Fire Team Member and Leader with the 108th Security Force Squadron, 108th Wing, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, and his six years of service included overseas deployments in support of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Tammy and I send our deepest condolences to Officer Sicknick’s family and friends, as well as to his United States Capitol Police colleagues and the Guardsmen and Guardswomen he served alongside. We thank him for his service to our nation.

Officer Sicknick gave his life protecting the United States Capitol, and by extension, our very democracy, from violent insurrection. His needless murder at the hands of a mob bent on overthrowing the Constitution he had dedicated his life to upholding is shocking. It is my fervent hope that the rioters whose actions directly contributed to his death are quickly identified and brought to justice.”

Loss of USCP Officer Brian D. Sicknick

January 7, 2021 Official United States Capital Police Press Release:

At approximately 9:30 p.m. this evening (January 7, 2021), United States Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick passed away due to injuries sustained while on-duty. 

Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters.  He returned to his division office and collapsed.  He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.  The death of Officer Sicknick will be investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the USCP, and our federal partners. 

Officer Sicknick joined the USCP in July 2008, and most recently served in the Department’s First Responder’s Unit. 

The entire USCP Department expresses its deepest sympathies to Officer Sicknick’s family and friends on their loss, and mourns the loss of a friend and colleague. 

We ask that Officer Sicknick’s family, and other USCP officers’ and their families’ privacy be respected during this time.

Hamilton Township Woman Indicted With Stealing $268,000 By Fraudulently Collecting Survivor Benefits From Deceased Husband’s Pension After She Remarried

January 7, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a woman was indicted for allegedly stealing more than $268,000 by fraudulently collecting survivor benefits from her deceased husband’s pension for nearly 10 years after she remarried and allegedly knew she was disqualified for such benefits.

Sandra VonScheven, 44, of Hamilton, Mercer County, N.J., was indicted yesterday by a state grand jury on a charge of second-degree theft by unlawful taking.  The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and the Pension and Fraud Abuse Unit of the New Jersey Department of the Treasury’s Division of Pension and Benefits.

In November 2001, VonScheven began collecting survivor spousal benefits from the pension of her deceased husband, who was a retired municipal police officer in New Jersey.  Surviving spouses are entitled to widow or widower’s benefits under the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System.  Survivor benefits continue for life or until the surviving spouse remarries.

In November 2019, the Division of Pensions and Benefits notified OPIA that VonScheven had continued to receive survivor spousal benefits from her late husband’s pension despite the fact that she remarried on Jan. 15, 2010.  It is alleged that VonScheven knew that her survivor benefits ceased when she remarried and nevertheless continued to receive the benefits every month until November 2019.  In total, she received more than $268,000 in benefits to which she was not entitled. 

Deputy Attorneys General John Nicodemo and Adam Gerken presented the case virtually to the state grand jury for the OPIA Corruption Bureau.  Detective Sonya Carney was lead detective for OPIA, and Deputy Attorney General Mallory Shanahan also assisted.  Attorney General Grewal thanked the Pension and Fraud Abuse Unit of the Department of the Treasury’s Division of Pension and Benefits for its investigation and referral.

Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000.  The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Peter E. Warshaw in Mercer County, where VonScheven will be ordered to appear in court at a later date for arraignment.

Defense Attorney: Undetermined

Governor Murphy Signs the “Dominick Marino PFRS Enhanced Benefits for Surviving Spouses Act”

January 7, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Today, Governor Phil Murphy signed S487, also known as the “Dominick Marino PFRS Enhanced Benefits for Surviving Spouses Act”. The legislation is named after Dominick Marino, a former professional firefighter and past President of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ), who passed away earlier last year. The new law will provide financial security for a member’s surviving spouse by ensuring that the accidental death benefit provided by the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System cannot be below $50,000 annually.

“A fierce advocate who put his heart and soul into everything he did for his PFANJ brothers and sisters, Dominick was a dear friend to me and to so many of us,” said Governor Murphy. “It is my great honor to sign this bill to cement Dominick’s legacy and help ensure that our first responders’ loved ones who are left behind are taken care of.”

“The health and well-being of his firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, as well as their families, were very important to our father. He continued to work hard and fight for them every day,” said the Marino Family. “This bill is just one example of his hard work and dedication to them, and we are honored to have this bill named after him.”  

“Senate Bill 487, named after Past-President Dominick Marino exemplifies ‘Donnie’ and all that he represented as President of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ) before his untimely death in April 2020,” said Steve McConlogue, President of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey. “He was the driving force behind this bill and felt passionately about ensuring that the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice are taken care of regardless of years of service. As firefighters, we show up each and every day knowing the danger and risks involved and, just as we believe in the importance of protecting and serving the members of our communities, we believe in taking care of each other. This bill helps to ensure we are doing just that. Thank you to the members of the PFANJ who have worked tirelessly to help move this bill across the finish line and to the members of the General Assembly and Senate for passing this bill unanimously. Thank you Governor Murphy for signing this bill into law.”

“Members of the public safety community put their lives on the line every day to protect and save the lives of every person in New Jersey,” said Senator Brian Stack. “So, it is absolutely a tragedy when they die in the line of duty, and even worse when they leave behind a surviving spouse. This is why Senator Sacco and I worked to enhance the accidental death benefit of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System. Collectively, we have to look out for these families when they lose loved ones.”

“As a mayor, it breaks my heart when I read about the accidental death of a police officer or firefighter,” said Senator Nicholas Sacco. “And if I find out they left behind a surviving family; my first instinct is to do whatever I can to help regardless of where in the state they may be. Enhancing the accidental death benefit in their pension to provide a minimum amount will prevent them from having financial issues due to the loss of their spouse.”

“Too many of our first responders, unfortunately, give their lives to keep their communities safe. We will never be able to fully give back to those brave heroes, but the very least we can do is make sure their families are cared for,” said Assemblymembers Angelica Jimenez, Pedro Mejia, and Carol Murphy in a joint statement. “Expanding the accidental death pension will benefit many families of fallen police officers and firefighters. It’s another way we can continue to express our utmost respect and gratitude for their loved one’s service.” file:

File video: Dominick Marino testifies at the NJ Statehouse on June 16, 2011

Police And Firefighters Now Eligible To Get COVID-19 Vaccinations Per Governor Murphy

January 6, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Murphy announced today that Police and Firefighters are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting Tomorrow, Thursday January 7, 2021. Some police and firefighters have already received the vaccination due to holding multiple roles such as a EMT or other health care provider. This will allow all police and firefighters to receive the vaccination starting tomorrow.

Statement from the NJ FMBA via Facebook:

FMBA: I am extremely pleased to announce, through the hard work of the NJ FMBA and the NJ Division of Fire Safety, under the direction of NJ State Fire Marshal Rich Mikutsky, Governor Phil Murphy has moved all active first responders into the first round of vaccinations. Starting tomorrow, firefighters and police officers will be moved into the same category as EMTs and health care providers for COVID-19 vaccinations. If you have any questions, please call the NJ FMBA office at 732-499-9250. We will also be discussing this topic in greater detail at the January virtual state meeting to be held on Wednesday, January 13th, at 0930hrs. Although this decision is up to each individual, I am pleased to announce many of our members have received the vaccine already. While it is unclear if dispatchers are included in this order, the NJ FMBA is working diligently with the NJ Department of Health to identify which category dispatchers should fall into. – Eddie

The State of NJ is reporting there have been 137,829 vaccinations statewide.

135,606 individuals have received their first dose 2,149 individuals have received their second dose.

Hamilton Township Fire Departments Become One As Hamilton Township’s Fire Division Starts Today

Hamilton Township Fire Division Swearing In Program

January 1, 2021

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–After years of trying, the nine Hamilton Township fire districts have finally been dissolved, and the Township of Hamilton now provides fire service under the Hamilton Township Division of Fire, starting 12:01 this morning.

In a social distanced swearing in ceremony that started shortly after 9:00 am this morning, Mayor Martin swore in the entire department, about four members at a time with a fifteen minute break in-between. Each individual ceremony was broadcasted live on Facebook. A large swearing in with the entire department at one time was not possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to provide social distancing.

Mayor Jeff Martin said in a statement, “Today is an extraordinary moment in Hamilton Township and New Jersey’s history – a day that has taken over 25 years and multiple administrations to work towards. Today, Hamilton Township has one unified Fire Division. While this day is one to be celebrated, it is unfortunate that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to scale back the planned ceremony today as we swear in the our first Fire Chief, Richard Kraemer and the entire Hamilton Township Fire Division.  We will properly, and safely, celebrate this achievement later this year.  I sincerely thank all of those involved in the process of consolidating Hamilton’s nine independent Fire Districts into one unified Fire Division including Governor Murphy and his administration, our Legislative leaders – Senator Greenstein, Assemblyman DeAngelo, and Assemblyman Benson, our Township Council, our fire consolidation subcommittee members including — Councilman Pat Papero, Jr., Councilman Anthony Carabelli, Jr., Mark Murranko, Joe Monzo, Chief Richard Kraemer, Scott Goldsmith, Nick Buroczi, Shane Mull, Richard Braslow, and all of the Hamilton Firefighters.”

Related stories here:

Mayor Martin Signs Ordinances and Memorandum of Agreements to Consolidate the Hamilton Township Fire Division

DCA Local Finance Board Approves Dissolution Of Fire Districts # 1 through 9 In Hamilton Township