Fire Escapes In The News

Firefighters Rescue Children

Firefighters Rescue Children From Delaware County Fire Escape

Firefighters saved a three children and two adults after they escaped onto a fire escape as flames tore through Delaware County apartments overnight.

The blaze broke out as many residents slept inside a subdivided home at W 3rd and Yarnall streets in Chester, Pennsylvania around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. Residents in the building banged on doors and shouted to make sure everyone got out safe.

There are six apartments and 12 people living in the building. Firefighters rescued five of those people, including three children, from a fire escape.

“All the victims that came out onto the third floor with our assistance came out on their own power,” said Chester Battalion Chief Joseph Iacono. “They were brought to Crozer Chester (Medical Center) for evaluation.”

No serious injuries were reported.

Tenant Daniel Harrold knocked on the door of a family living next door to make sure they got out after he saw their apartment on fire.

“My first instinct was to go try to get them out,” said Harrold. “I ran next door and was kicking on the door, banging on the door.”

No word yet on what caused the fire.

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Tipp City bookstore fire

Updated: 7:03 p.m. Tuesday, June 21, 2016 | Posted: 5:15 a.m. Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tipp City bookstore fire: 3 hurt, up to $1M damage

3 people taken to hospitals for smoke inhalation


By Breaking News Staff


Three people were taken to hospitals after fire destroyed a Tipp City bookstore Tuesday morning.

  • Owner estimates $1 million in inventory lost
  • 3 people suffer smoke inhalation
  • Building built in 1871
  • Building listed in National Register of Historic Places

UPDATE@5:40 p.m.:

A bookstore at the heart of the historic district in downtown Tipp City caught fire Tuesday morning, causing $600,000 to $1 million in damage and sending three people to hospitals.

Bill Jones, owner of Browse Awhile Books, estimated more than $1 million in inventory was lost in the fire in the 100 block of East Main Street.

Tipp City Fire Chief Steve Kessler said his damage estimates include $400,000 to the building and $200,000 to the contents. He said the estimate could change based on what can be salvaged.

The fire was first reported Monday evening, but it rekindled and crews were called out again Tuesday morning. As crews were arriving on scene around 5:10 a.m., they reported heavy smoke and flames.

Faulty wiring is believed to be the cause of the original fire from Monday evening, according to Kessler. He said the rekindling could have been caused by a different problem, but the cause might not be determined because of the extent of damage. The building had working smoke alarms.

Two people were taken to area hospitals for smoke inhalation. A firefighter was taken for deydration. All were treated and released.

The building — built in 1871 — is in the Old Tippecanoe Main Street Historic District and is listed in the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places. There are two apartments above the business.

Officials said the occupants of the upstairs apartment were initially trapped when the first emergency units arrived. Police officers were able to talk the occupants out of a window and down a fire escape to safety.

Jones, who’s owned the store since 1990, said some books can be salvaged. But among the items destroyed are books up to $3,000 in price, he said.

“This is a historic district, so it has to come out looking exactly the same,” said Jones, who has insurance. “But all of that is in the future. I’m still in a little bit of shock.”

Mike Curtis, who lives a block and a half from the bookstore, said there is a lot of nostalgia with the business. He said his wife helped design the interior of the apartment a few months ago.

“This is a huge impact on our downtown,” Curtis said. “We like this downtown and what we’ve got going on down here. … Everybody’s safe, and that’s all that matters. But now it’s rebuilding time.”

The Downtown Tipp City Partnership has started a GoFundMe page for relief efforts to all affected by the fire, the organization announced on its Facebook page.

“It’s heart-warming and touching,” Jones said. “I’ve got more hugs (Tuesday) than I’ve gotten in the last six months. That’s Tipp City. It’s a close-knit town. Everybody cares about everybody else. We’re going to dig out the best we can and see where we go from there.”

Kessler said a second building had water and smoke damage.

The building to the west of the bookstore houses the Merchant31 clothing store, where inventory kept upstairs was damaged by fire and smoke.

Heather Dorsten, director of the Downtown Tipp City Partnership organization, said the bookstore and its “quirky array” of books cannot be replaced.

“We are sad not only because of the economic development hit downtown. When it comes to the historical architecture of the building, we are all devastated for the loss,” Dorsten said.

— Contributing writer Nancy Bowman contributed to this report.


Tipp City bookstore fire: 3 hurt, up to $1M damage photo
Tipp City bookstore fire: 3 hurt, up to $1M damage photo
Tipp City bookstore fire: 3 hurt, up to $1M damage photo

For Fallen Comrades

Essex police & fire band steps up for fallen comrades

Di Ionno

Mark Di Ionno | The Star-LedgerBy Mark Di Ionno | The Star-Ledger 
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on May 11, 2016 at 8:27 AM, updated May 11, 2016 at 11:58 AM

More From Mark Di Ionno

The names are never forgotten. Neither are the dates nor the places where local police and firefighters lost their lives.

They are a part of every story, inherent in the legacy and history of the Essex County Emerald Society Police and Fire Pipes and Drums band.

This incarnation of the 35-year-old band began with the death of Newark firefighter Harry Halpin, who died in a fall from a fire escape collapse on Aug. 16, 1980.

“The fire department had to hire a civilian pipe band,” said John Hermann, the Montclair fire chief and a snare drummer in the band. “The guys back then decided to start their own band.”

There had been a Newark Emerald Society band in 1950s and ’60s, but it no longer exists. After Halpin’s funeral, the uniformed officers and firefighters of Essex County vowed they would never again bury one of their own without the pipes and drum honors played by their own.

MORERecent Mark Di Ionno columns

“No cop or fireman should be buried without it,” said Jack McGarry, a retired detective sergeant from the East Orange Police Department who is a piper in the band .

In those early days, they were the only pipe and drum band in New Jersey.

“We did every police and firefighter funeral in the state,” said Ed McNany, the band’s drum sergeant (lead snare drummer) who joined in 1982.

They went to Camden County for the funerals of John McLaughlin, an investigator in the prosecutor’s office, and John Norcross, a Haddon Heights police officer, ambushed as they tried to serve a warrant in 1995. They were in Cape May County a year earlier for Lower Township Ptl. David C. Douglass, killed as he chased a burglary suspect.

They did New Jersey state trooper line-of-duty funerals – Carlos Negron, ambushed on the turnpike in 1984; Albert J. Mallen, shot during a drug raid in Westville in 1985 – until the state police formed its own band in 1986.

The names aren’t forgotten. Talking to the band members before their weekly practice at the Shillelagh Club in West Orange is a linear lesson in the grim reality of police deaths. Not only are the names remembered, but the dates and the circumstances.

“We did 47 funerals, all together. Thirty-seven were P.A. cops.” — Bill Connolly, retired Newark police detective

It is a job the band members take seriously. The practices are two hours, with songs repeated over and over, until no pipe sounds flat or trails behind. It is a band of brothers, literally, and sons.

Ed McNany’s brother, Michael, a retired Springfield police lieutenant, plays the bass drum.

The other bass drum is played by Brendan Sim, a Belleville police officer and son of Scott Sim, the band’s lead piper. Hermann’s son, Chris, followed him into the Montclair fire department and into the band as a snare drummer.

This weekend, the band will take center stage during several “Police Week” events in Washington, D.C., leading up to the National Peace Officers Memorial Day on Sunday.

As the host band, they will play during the candlelight vigil for fallen officer on Friday night on the National Mall.

A lone piper for the band will stay for the midnight lowering of the flag to half-staff and again, at midnight Saturday, for the flag-raising.

On Saturday, they will lead a parade of about 40 Emerald Society pipe bands from around the country, including the New Jersey State Police corps for the National Emerald Society wreath laying.

On Sunday, they will be the featured band at the memorial service, where the 136 families of police killed in the line of duty last year are honored.

“We were there in 2002 (after the terror attacks of Sept. 11) when President Bush came down and shook hands with every one of them,” said Scott Sim, a retired Belleville police captain who is the band’s pipe major.

One of the songs the band will play is “Drummers Lost,” written by Sim after the World Trade Center collapse killed three Port Authority police officer who were drummers in that agency’s pipe band.

“Richie Rodriquez, Steve Huczko and Liam Callahan,” Sim said, without hesitation. “The building came down right on them.”

With the Port Authority band crippled by the loss of members, the Essex County band stepped in and did the funerals.

“We did 47 funerals, all together,” said Bill Connolly, a recently retired Newark police lieutenant who will receive a national valor award this weekend for apprehending an armed robbery suspect who shot at him. “Thirty-seven were P.A. cops.”

Connolly was working midnights then.

“A lot of us didn’t sleep. You’d get off work and go right to the funerals,” he said.

Jim Snellen, a West Orange fire captain, said the band plays the funerals “on their own time.” With 52 members, including the color guard – all of whom are either retired or active law enforcement officers or firefighters – they can always muster a respectable number.

“They either take vacation time, or swap shifts,” Snellen said. “It’s important we show up.”

Sim said as few as a dozen pipers and seven drummers will shake the nave of a church during the band’s thunderous rendition of “Amazing Grace” that will bring tears to the eyes to most at a police or firefighter line-of-duty funeral.

“It’s very emotional music,” he said. “We’re all from the same fraternity.”

As led the practice this week, he was wearing a black T-shirt in remembrance of Michael Morgan, a Newark gang squad detective killed in 2011.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Snellen said. “St. Patrick’s Day, the other parades are nice, but this is what it’s all about.”

Mark Di Ionno may be reached at Follow The Star-Ledger on Twitter @StarLedger and find us on Facebook.

1 Hurt After Fire Escape Collapses in Brooklyn

1 Hurt After Fire Escape Collapses in…

The FDNY told News 4 Investigates on Monday that the last time the fire escape had been inspected was in 2014 and that the building’s owner never received a a violation. Andrew Siff reports. (Published Monday, March 21, 2016)