"Gentleman pref. $2.50 week"
Camden Courier-Post - February 1967
Trapped in Blaze Saved by Firemen
City firemen fought smoke, flames; snow and a biting cold during the night and early morning hours as a rash of fires 6everely damaged four buildings and destroyed a tavern.
According to Public Safety Director Keith Kauffman, at one point only two engine companies were not actively fighting the blazes as seven engine companies, three ladder companies, the rescue squad and three battalion chiefs were at the fire scenes.
Started In Tavern Lounge
The blaze, which broke out in the lounge of Ray's Tavern, was discovered by Patrolmen Augustus Balzano and Anthony Saponare at 3:58 a.m. after they were alerted of smoke by highway employees battling the second snowstorm of the week.
The two policemen, after radioing the alarm, kicked in the door of the tavern and raced through the smoke and flames to rescue Mrs. Agnes Lockhart, 58, from her upstairs apartment.
The patrolmen took Mrs. Lockhart to Cooper Hospital where she was admitted with a cut head and smoke inhalation.
Minutes later firemen, headed by Battalion Chief Biaggio Ardire, arrived. Ardire said the tavern was engulfed in smoke and flames. He said the flames leaped from the tavern roof to a luncheonette and apartment building next door.
Ardire said firemen raised a ladder to the third floor of the second building where Mrs. Mabel Seward, 64, was hanging from a window ledge. However, fireman were hampered in the rescue attempt by the narrow space of the alley and could only hold the screaming woman until other firefighters could make their way to the third floor window from inside the building.
The rescuers, wearing face masks, wrapped Mrs. Seward in blankets and carried here through the flames to safety.
Two Carried Out
At the same time, more fire fighters entered the burning building and carried out Mrs. Viola Lagerprantz, 65, who lived in a rear apartment on the first floor and John J. Smith, 86, from a second-floor apartment.
All the victims were taken to Cooper Hospital for smoke inhalation treatment and released an hour later.
Kauffman ordered the victims, still wrapped in blankets, taken to fire headquarters at 3rd and Arch Streets and notified city welfare authorities. The Welfare Department obtained temporary housing for the three victims at Volunteers of America headquarters, 828 Market Street. Each victim lost all possessions in the blaze.
Ardire, at, 4:27 a.m. called for additional fire crews and an hour later requested more aid. Battalion Chief Daniel Jiannetto's unit answered the first distress call while Acting Battalion Chief Arthur Batten's men arrived on the second plea.
Ardire said that when firemen attempted to get into the buildings, the fire was raging forward, backward, and straight up the stairwells out of control.
The owner of the luncheonette, Dominic Padulla; arrived at the scene about 5:30 a.m. Padulla and his brother, Frank, who also had been out, live on the first floor.
Canteen Truck on Scene
Volunteers of America Canteen truck with Colonel William Gwynne also was at the scene and served firemen coffee and donuts.
Fire Chief Edward Michalak said he has ordered a complete investigation of the fire.
In the two other fires in North Camden, a grocery store was damaged at 442 N. 9th Street, and two vacant buildings at 623-625 North Front Street were damaged.
Grocery Store Blaze
Batten said a defective chimney apparently caused the grocery store blaze which raged through joists and partitions. The store is operated by Benjamin Lamberte while the building is owned by Mrs. Sarah Schecter of Baird Boulevard according to the battalion chief.
Batten's crew were forced to make two trips to the vacant buildings as wind whipped flames. He said the fire probably was caused by vagrants seeking shelter from the snowstorm.
Before the firefighters could take off their fire apparel, they were dispatched to the 5th and Mickle Street blaze.
FIREMEN climb ladder to the roof and second floor of the blaze which raged out of control at Ray's Tavern, 5th and Mickle Streets, early today. Other firefighters braved dense smoke and flames inside building.
Camden Fire Department - FIRE WATCH MAGAZINE, SPRING 1977
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