Police & Fire

UPDATE: Hillsborough Mayor Praises Firefighters, Emergency Personnel and Residents for Response to Feb. 11-12 Warehouse Fire

Credits: Rod Hirsch
Credits: Rod Hirsch
Credits: Rod Hirsch
Credits: Rod Hirsch
Credits: Rod Hirsch

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Mayor Frank Delcore devoted considerable time at Tuesday night’s Township Committee meeting thanking the township’s three fire companies, first aid squads, police and residents for their response to the massive warehouse fire at Veterans Industrial Park that consumed more than 500,000 square feet shared by more than one dozen businesses.

“We are thankful, grateful and appreciative,” the mayor said, noting that the volunteer firefighters and others were “put to the test,” under tough conditions.

“We owe them a debt of gratitude,” Delcore said.

Sign Up for E-News

Only two firefighters suffered minor injuries during the Feb. 11-12 fire which spewed plumes of deep black smoke billowing across the skies of central New Jersey. Stiff winds and single-digit temperatures made their task that much more difficult.

Delcore, along with Deputy Mayor Carl Suraci and committee members Gloria McCauley, Doug Tomson and Greg Burchette also circulated a letter of thanks praising the effort to area media:

“Over the last few days, Hillsborough's first responders and our town's spirit were put to the test. It was very hard to come up with the right words to express the appreciation to the fire fighters, our police officers, our EMS crews and township staff who worked so hard in spite of brutal conditions at the recent Somerville Industrial Park fire.

“Over 150 volunteer firefighters left their families at home, their paying jobs and some closed their businesses to meet flames head-on as they leapt into the frigid sky for over 24 hours,” the letter continues. “These men and woman are volunteers, but I would put them up against any paid fire department in the country. They lay their lives on the line to protect and save our community, and for this we are thankful.

“This special group of people have our utmost respect.”

The letter continues:

“We would be remiss if we didn't also acknowledge the overwhelming response from you, the residents of Hillsborough. Everywhere we as elected officials turned, we saw donations pour into sites across Hillsborough to help our first responders and responders from across the State battle the flames. It was humbling and inspiring to see our community pull together and we look forward to honoring our first responders in the near future.”

The letter concludes:

“On behalf of the township committee, we would like to thank everyone who once again showed everyone who was watching why we are one of the Best Places to Live in America!”

Delcore also thanked firefighters from surrounding communities for their response fighting the fire, which burned for more than 15 hours through the night before it was declared under control.

The mayor also announced that the township is working with the congressional office of Rep. Leonard Lance, R-7th to be reimbursed by the federal government for the cost of equipment damaged or destroyed in the fire. Veterans Industrial Park, located at 152 Route 206 south, is owned by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Chief Fire Marshal Christopher Weniger said the township’s three fire companies all suffered considerable damage to equipment, primarily 5-inch hoses that were used to pump water from hydrants and tanker trucks.

Weniger said he is coordinating efforts with the township’s fire companies to compile loss estimates and will provide the information to Lance’s office.

Other departments also experienced damage to their equipment.

Several lengths of damaged hoses were left behind, stark reminders of the raging fire that blew shards of burning asphalt and other debris downwind, littering the streets and lawns of nearby residential neighborhoods and office parks. The fire also shut down Route 206 overnight and for days afterwards.

Hundreds of firefighters, 90 fire companies and more than 200 emergency vehicles from 30 towns throughout New Jersey responded to the massive blaze that leveled two World War II-era warehouses, causing $50 million in damages and the loss of hundreds of jobs.

Delcore characterized the blaze as one of the largest to occur in New Jersey.

Federal investigators on Tuesday issued their preliminary findings into the cause of the fire.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives coordinated the onsite investigation.

"We have a very good idea of what happened," said ATF Newark Field Division Special Agent in Charge George P. Belsky at Tuesday night's Township Committee meeting.

For now, the cause of the fire is being classified as "undetermined," pending a peer review process that could take as long as 30 days, Belsky explained.

An official announcement on the cause of the fire will be made at the conclusion of the peer review process, Belsky said.

"The ignition source for the fire could not be determined and therefore the fire was classified as undetermined. There was no indication that the fire was caused by an intentional act," said Walter Kudron, a spokesman for the ATF.

"Based on the scene examination and witness statements, it was determined that the fire originated in the high rack storage area of building 14 in the west side of unit C," he added.

The ATF National Response Team (NRT) completed its fire scene investigation on Saturday, Feb. 20 after a week of combing through the rubble and interviewing witnesses.

Belsky explained there will be one of four conclusions to be considered: natural causes; incendiary, meaning that the fire was set intentionally; accidential or undetermined.

Belsky said he would “be shocked” if the conclusion reached is incendiary.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Polystyrene Pollution

July 3, 2018

Dear Editor,

Last month the article,  A Girl Scout Workshop that Builds Young Environmental Specialists reminded readers that it's important to educate people on issues in our environment. Our waterways are under threat from harmful plastic pollution. Americans throw away an estimated 70 million plastic foam cups and about one-third end up in waterways like rivers, lakes ...

East Brunswick's Ethan Reiss Saves the History of Who We Are

July 15, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - To some people, lists of names and pictures of locations just create a jumble of information and a confusing mass of facts.  To Ethan Reiss, a historian from East Brunswick who is working to keep facts alive, these bits and pieces come together to form a picture of who we are based on who we were in the past.

Reiss, the administrator of the popular "You Know ...


Hillsborough, NJ - Gina (Francoisa) Salamon, 90, died Monday, July 9, 2018 at Bridgeway Care Center ...
Read more
Piscataway – Michael John Doherty, 73, passed away Saturday June 16, 2018 in Las Vegas, ...
Read more

New Outlook Pioneers hosts 18th Music in the Park at Milt Campbell Field

July 15, 2018

Plainfield, NJ - On Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 5PM Sponsored by: The City of Plainfield (including the Cultural & Heritage and Human Relations Commissions), Mayor Adrian Mapp and the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders; along with CO-SPONSORS: New Outlook Pioneers, Mr. Plainfield (Robert Graham),TD+Partners -A Community Impact Development Firm, and Re/Max Select, Sandra L.

Cruising with Autism on the Seas

This is a event that includes the partnership and collaboration of Cruise Planners, Autism Friendly Escapes and WallynZavy's Autistic Kids Can Do!. WallynZavy's Autistic Kids Can Do is a non-profit 5013c, organization that supports families that have autistic and special needs children through advocacy, social play dates, resources, workshops, community support, seminars and family ...

RU Ready for Rutgers Football? Tickets on Sale Next Week

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - There's a lot of promotions planned this fall as part of the Rutgers football season.

Single game tickets go on sale Thursday, July 12, with seven home games. There's matchups against Big Ten East opponents Michigan and Penn State, and a first-time cross divisional meeting with Northwestern.

If football is not your thing, there's plenty ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, July 17, 8:00 AM

Sivantos - Bloodmobile, Piscataway

Piscataway Emergency Blood Drive - Pair of ...

Giving Back Health & Wellness


Tue, July 17, 5:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Open House July 17th



Tue, July 17, 5:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Open House July 17th


Wed, July 18, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sing Four to Feature Brahms

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, July 21, 10:00 AM

NJ Convention and Exposition Center, Edison

82nd Annual Garden State Cat Show & Expo

Giving Back Other

Got Mint? Bayonne Police Charge Man with Stealing $1,000 in Toothpaste

July 16, 2018

BAYONNE, NJ – The case of a near lifetime supply of toothpaste that was taken from a Bayonne pharmacy has been solved.

Marcos Baez, 40, of Isabella Avenue, was charged with four counts of shoplifting after police identified him as the person responsible for stealing more than $1,000 worth of toothpaste, according to a police release.

Police were called to the Rite Aid at 12-16 North ...

Big Changes in Store for New Jersey’s Employers and Employees

July 15, 2018

Big changes are in store for New Jersey’s workplaces, with dramatic legislation aimed at improving conditions for New Jersey’s workers. These changes include the enactment of New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act, a new law to help the unemployed, and passage of New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act. Most likely one or all these laws will impact you or someone in your family.

New ...

Extra Time

It was close to 70 minutes into the match and I had to go to the bathroom.  Badly.

As fans watching the World Cup know too well, bathroom breaks are a serious dilemma, especially for those who don’t have a TV in the loo.  This biological necessity is exasperated by beer, which during World Cup matches also fuels a strong propensity to throw chairs and instigate riots.