Camden Fire Department
Fire, Rescue, & Safety Operations
June 15, 2012 - 439 Chambers Avenue


This page and the other pages in this series are the successors to the series of web-page about the Camden Fire Department that began with the page Camden Fire Department: The Fires of the Summer of 2011. On this and other pages in the series you will find pictures and information regarding different events and aspects of the fire service in Camden, New Jersey.

The longstanding unaddressed problem of vagrants and criminal trespassers in vacant buildings in Camden continued to put the lives and property of the law-abiding citizens of Camden at risk in the month of June 2012. On June 4 there was a fire in the 500 block of Pfeiffer Street, on the 7th in the 600 block of Henry Street, on the 9th 911 Vine Street was ablaze, and a row of three abandoned  houses in the 1400 of South 4th Street went up in flames on Monday June 11th.. 

At 12:45 on June 15th, 2012 a vacant property at 639 Chambers Avenue went up in flames, damaging occupied homes on either side. The building is owned by a non-profit organization and was reported to have been prepared for rehabilitation. If so, the non-profit failed to secure the building, which apparently had been taken over by at least two vagrants, a man and a woman.

The arriving Battalion Chief reported heavy fire on the third floor of 639 Chambers Avenue, a 25' x 75' three-story middle of the row home built in the 1890s. All hands were placed in service. A second alarm was quickly struck as fire dropped down into the the second floor and extended to both homes at either side. Numerous hand lines were placed in service on the adjacent properties  and a ladder pipe was placed in service on the original fire dwelling. Two additional engines were special called. One firefighter from Collingswood was slightly injured.

Around 1:00 PM it was reported that smoke could be seen coming from the roof of 439 Chambers Avenue. The Camden Fire Department returned to the scene and dealt with the rekindle, and were again summoned later that afternoon. 

I did not get to the original fire, but did manage to get into Camden in time to take some pictures of Camden Fire Department personnel in the afternoon. 

As with the web page covering other Camden Fire Department events, if you can identify anyone that I've missed, please e-mail me. (I'm terrible at at names and faces). 

Phil Cohen
June 25, 2012

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Fire
on
Chambers Avenue

Early Morning Hours
June 15, 2012

Photo by Cheryl Irwin

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The Camden Fire Department returned to the scene of the fire around 1 PM after it was
reported that smoke could be seen coming from the roof of 439 Chambers Avenue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Camden Courier-Post - June 15, 2012

Camden fire damages freeholder's home

By Lucas K. Murray
Courier-Post Staff

Row homes on Chambers Street in Camden were heavily damaged by an early morning, 2-alarm fire. / Lucas K. Murray/Courier-Post

CAMDEN — One of the homes damaged by an early morning fire Friday is owned by Camden County’s newest freeholder.

Scot McCray stood in disbelief outside of homes at the end of Chambers Avenue Friday morning. The vacant home next to his lay completely in ruins as fire burned through the roof and each of its three floors.

“This house was boarded up, waiting to be worked on,” McCray said. “It’s owned now by St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society. They were ready to fix it up and had already demoed it on the inside.”

The freeholder said his wife and two sons were jolted awake by the smoke detectors in their home.

At one point, the rear of the home in which the fire started collapsed. Firefighters worked for more than an hour to bring the fire under control.

Neighbors said a woman and a man were seen leaving the building as the fire started. The woman was taken into custody by a Camden officer after she returned to the scene around 10 a.m. The man remained at large.

Camden’s fire department was called back to Chambers Avenue around 1 p.m. for a report that what was left of the roof in the vacant building was smoldering..


Camden Courier-Post - June 16, 2012

Freeholder's fixer-upper home burns

By Lucas K. Murray
Courier-Post Staff

CAMDEN — For nearly six years, Camden County Freeholder Scot McCray has worked on making his Cooper Lanning house a home.

Much of that work went up in flames Friday after a fire in a vacant dwelling next door spread to his three-story, 113-year-old row home.

Firefighters were called to the 400 block of Chambers Avenue, a tree-lined cobblestone street where many of the homes have their original slate roofs, around 12:45 a.m. Initial radio reports indicated heavy fire was coming from the third floor of the home next to McCray’s.

“This house was boarded up, waiting to be worked on,” McCray said. “It’s owned by the St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society. They were ready to fix it up and had already (gutted) it on the inside.”

Within minutes of arrival, Camden’s firefighters called for assistance from Collingswood and Gloucester City, fearing the fire could spread to other homes. Crews worked for more than an hour to bring the blaze under control.

At one point, the rear of the home in which the fire started collapsed, sending bricks tumbling into the small backyards of the properties. Spray from a hose smashed a window of an adjacent home. An older female resident was frightened, but unhurt.

Neighbors reported to police that a woman had been seen running from the burning building over toward Cooper University Hospital to summon help. She was taken into custody for questioning around 10 a.m. after a Camden officer saw her return to the vacant residence.

A man she was seen with remains at large.

One firefighter from Collingswood was injured and was treated and released at Cooper, city officials said. No civilians were reported hurt.

"My oldest son is pretty shook up, my youngest is too young to know what’s going on,” McCray said.

In total, three buildings were damaged in the fire.

This is the second fire in the neighborhood in two weeks. On May 31, a midmorning fire destroyed another three-story dwelling on the 400 block of Broadway across from the new Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.

In that fire, squatters are said to have been active in the building prior to its destruction.

A constant wave of supporters visited the McCray home Friday morning ranging from fellow politicians to fellow Cooper Lanning residents. Many of them had been on the lookout for the individuals who fled from the burning home.

Camden’s fire department was called back to the scene twice Friday for reports that what was left of the shared roof was smoldering.

Camy Trinidad, executive director of the Camden County Chapter of the American Red Cross, said in addition to the McCrays, a man who lived in an apartment in an adjoining unit was displaced and provided with “client assistance cards.”

 

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