Police & Fire

South Plainfield’s Fire Prevention Bureau Awarded Grant to Bolster Arson Investigation Efforts

South Plainfield Fire Official/Fire Marshal Joe Abbruzzese and FM Global Account Engineer John Antola, Jr. with borough leaders and members of the fire prevention bureau.
Council President Derryck White presents FM Global Account Engineer John Antola, Jr. with an official 'Borough of South Plainfield' pin.

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Bureau of Fire Prevention on March 30 was presented with a grant from FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers. The $1,610 grant will aid the bureau’s fire investigation efforts and go specifically toward the purchase of a hydrocarbon detector.

“We want to extend our extreme thanks to FM Global. Without this grant we wouldn't have been able to obtain this detector and, once obtained, plan to put it to use immediately,” said South Plainfield Fire Official/Marshal Joe Abbruzzese. “We look forward to increasing our abilities in arson investigation.”

Through FM Global, fire prevention bureaus can apply for grants in one of three categories – fire prevention, arson investigation, or building preplanning. South Plainfield applied under the arson investigation category, submitting a detailed application highlighting the bureau’s need for a hydrocarbon detector and providing specifics on its cost. Close to 300 applications were reviewed on a regional level with South Plainfield notified that they had received the grant in early March.

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On Thursday, prevention bureau members and borough leaders gathered at fire headquarters to accept the grant from FM Global Account Engineer John Antola, Jr. “No matter which category a [bureau] applies under we believe they will better protect the community in which they serve, arson being right up there with education and preplanning,” said Antola, adding, “If we can prevent arsons, we can prevent losses – loss of property and loss of life.”

Through its Fire Prevention Grant Program, Rhode Island-based FM Global awards grants to fire departments as well as national, state, regional, local and community organizations worldwide. Because fire continues to be the leading cause of property damage worldwide, during the past 40 years FM Global has contributed millions of dollars in fire prevention grants to fire service organizations around the globe. Locally, the company has awarded grants to a number of New Jersey-based organization; this is the first time the South Plainfield Bureau of Fire Prevention had applied for an FM Global grant.

“We strongly believe the majority of property damage worldwide is preventable, not inevitable. Far too often, inadequate budgets prevent those organizations working to prevent fire from being as proactive as they would like to be,” Michael Spaziani, manager of the FM Global’s Fire Prevention Grant Program, stated in a release announcing South Plainfield as a grant recipient. “With additional financial support, grant recipients are actively helping to improve property risk in the communities they serve.”

Hydrocarbons are found in cleaning products as well as fuel oils such as gasoline, kerosene, butane, propane, etc. According to Abbruzzese, with a hydrocarbon detector, South Plainfield fire officials will be able to easily identify any hydrocarbon-started fire oil and, as a result, 'save the department valuable time searching for points of original.’

“We have seen an increase in arsons and wanted a better tool that would allow us to pursue criminal charges against those who attempt these crimes,” Abbruzzese said.

“I want to thank FM Global for awarding us this grant and thank and congratulate the bureau for applying and being selected,” said South Plainfield Borough Councilman and Fire Commissioner Joe Wolak. “Out of almost 300 applicants this is something to be extremely proud of and something that is extremely good for our borough.”

Council President Derryck White also extended thanks to FM Global and commended the South Plainfield Bureau of Fire Prevention for applying for and being awarded the grant. “This really demonstrates the willingness of our bureau to reach out to other entities and maximize resources,” said White. “This is a great addition to the fire prevention bureau and will position our community for a safer future."

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