11/27/2007 - Hackensack Fire Briefs (Updated 12/27/07)


On Tuesday, December 18, 2007 the Hackensack Fire Departments received a phone alarm reporting a structure fire, 87 Old River Street. On arrival the members of the Fourth Platoon found heavy smoke emanating from the attic window and roof eves of a three story frame dwelling. The structure was occupied as an apartment above a commercial office.

The firefighters continuously stretched 2 – attack hose lines, on icy street and sidewalk, into the stairway and gained access into the apartment as other firefighter raised the aerial ladder to vent the roof and ground ladders to vent windows. As the hose team confined the fire and primary searches were made for possible victims, other firefighters were performing salvage work in the commercial office to protect equipment and valuables.

The fire was confined and extinguished within 20 minutes. There were no injuries. The cause was determined to be accidental and the occupants of the apartment were relocated by family.

December 10, 2007. The Hackensack Fire Department EMS Division has implemented several new capabilities this month. Each Ambulance is carrying a Verichip Scanner and Epinephrine Auto-injectors.

The Verichip Scanner is a device that read a small chip that is placed underneath the patient’s skin just above the right elbow. When the patient is unconscious a scanner is used to read a chip that contains the patient’s identification number which is relayed to the Emergency Room Physician who can enter the identification number into a data base and retrieve the patient’s medical history and list of medications to allow for both the Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedic’s to provide better treatment for the patient. It also allows for the Emergency Room to have the patient information so they can be prepared for the arrival of the patient. The Verichip Scanners and the training were provided by Hackensack University Medical Center Paramedic Services.

The epinephrine Auto-injectors (epi-pens) were placed on the ambulances to enhance patient care for a patient who is suffering from Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. This is a severe life threatening condition which can lead to a patient’s death in a very short period of time if EMS intervention is not performed immediately. The only way to treat anaphylaxis is through the administration of epinephrine, which will reverse the reaction and relieve the symptoms making the patient better. The immediate recognition of the symptoms and administration of medication will prove to be a life saving measure. The epi-pens are carried in two doses one for adults and one for children under five years old. Someone can experience an allergic reaction to many things but the common causes are bee stings, food allergies, medication allergies, and latex allergies. The Hackensack University Medical Center Paramedic Services provided the Fire Department with initial training for the administration of the epi-pens according to the NJ Department of Health Standards.


On Monday, December 3, 2007 at 0109 hours the Hackensack Fire Department received a call reporting activated fire alarms, 85 Midtown Bridge Approach, Bowler City.

While enroute additional information reporting an odor of smoke in building by patrons. On arrival the members of the Fourth Platoon found light smoke on the first floor. As other firefighters where investigating the second floor other firefighters were stretching attack lines and water supply line to support operations and the building sprinkler system, as the Ladder Company raised the aerial to the roof. The building was quickly identified as a Bowstring Truss Roof. The firefighters on the second floor found moderate smoke and a heavy odor of wood burring. They quickly opened a hole in the sheetrock wall exposing a concealed space of the Truss void and found the fire burning freely. A hose line was quickly placed into operation as the automatic sprinkler system activated. The fire was confined and extinguished before it could spread into the Bowstring Truss Roof void. As soon as the fire was controlled the firefighters began salvage work to protect the occupancy from water and smoke damage/

Fire Chief J. Thornton stated the firefighters did a good job controlling and extinguishing the fire before it spread throughout the truss area, as these can be dangerous fires.

The cause was determined to be accidental. There were no injuries.


Winter Weather Preparedness


On Wednesday, November 28, 2007 The Hackensack Emergency Management and Bergen County Emergency Management teams presented a Winter Weather Preparedness Seminar.  Bergen County Police Sergeant B. Leventhal is presenting Information.



Explosive Awareness Training


On Thursday, December 6, 2007 the Hackensack Fire Department hosted Explosive Awareness Training presented by Federal A.T.F. Agent, Jessica Gothold.  Members of the Fourth Platoon and members of the Hackensack Police Department attended.



On Friday, October 19, 2007, at 0810 hours the Hackensack Fire Department received a call for Rescue 1 to respond into the city of Irvington to assist in rescue operations of two (2) collapsed structures as a result of an explosion. Hackensack Fire Rescue 1 is a Technical Rescue/Collapse Unit and a member of the Urban Area Security Initiative, with our Firefighters specially trained for these rescue operations. The Rescue responded with members of the Fourth Platoon and operated as part of the UASI Task Force. There was one (1) fatality and several injured civilians as a result of the explosion. The Rescue returned to our City in the early afternoon.

On Sunday, November 11, 2007, at 0006 hours the Hackensack Fire Department received numerous phone alarms reporting a fire with people trapped in 216 Mary Street. The address is a garden apartment complex, two (2) stories, brick and frame structure. On arrival the members of the Third Platoon found heavy smoke emanating from a ground floor apartment and a second story apartment occupant at the windows calling for assistance, as the interior stairwell egress was filled with smoke. The Firefighters quickly stretched several attack hose lines to confine and extinguish the fire as other Firefighters quickly searched the apartment and removed the occupant above. The fire was quickly extinguished; however the apartment of origin sustained heavy fire, smoke and heat damage. The search of this apartment found no one home. The occupant of the second floor apartment following removal was treated on scene and transported to Hackensack Medical Center for smoke inhalation and later released. The occupant was relocated by the Red Cross.

On Friday, November 16, 2007, the Hackensack Fire Department received a phone alarm reporting an automobile accident on Route 17, South. On arrival of the Fourth Platoon members, the Firefighters found electrical power lines down on Route 17 highway and the vehicle which had struck and penetrated a vacant store front in the Pathmark Plaza. The Firefighters assisted the occupant and driver of the vehicle from the vehicle and store front. He had sustained minor injuries and was treated on scene. The store front was investigated for potential collapse hazards. The Hackensack and Bergen County Police were requested and controlled traffic on Route 17 and performed the accident investigation. City Building Department was requested due to damage of the store.

On Saturday, November 24, 2007, at 1141 hours the Hackensack Fire Department received a telephone call reporting an odor of natural gas in the area of 115 Gamewell Street. On arrival of fire units the members of the Fourth Platoon found the odor emanating from 115 Gamewell Street, a vacant three (3) story wood frame two (2) family structure. The Firefighters quickly monitored the atmosphere with multi-gas meters in and around the dwelling and found high concentrations of natural gas in the explosive range. Public Service Gas Division requested to respond while other Firefighters quickly began to evacuate the residents of all adjacent homes as a precaution. The natural gas supply was secured, the entire structure was ventilated, the cause determined to be a broken natural gas line in the basement. All evacuated residents were returned. The City Building Inspectors were requested. There were no injuries.