HOLMDEL – After a Saturday morning fire destroyed a home and injured two fire fighters, the township is announcing plans to evaluate its fire department personnel and procedures.
According to a media release issued Sept. 5, a study of the township’s Fire Department Master Plan is underway and being conducted by fire protection consultant Harry R. Carter, Ph.D.
Carter began data collection and a review of the township’s fire safety equipment and procedures in August and will be conducting interviews with fire department personnel, township committee members, mutual aid fire departments, municipal government officials and other interested parties this month.
Holmdel Township Mayor Tom Critelli said resident safety is paramount for the Township Committee and the fire department plays a major role in providing the community with that sense of security. “This governing body is willing to explore any avenue that will improve the mechanisms by which our fire safety personnel serve our residents and this study will only support our efforts,” he said.
At 6:54 a.m. a fire was reported in an outdoor kitchen at 6 Barrister Drive. Authorities were on the scene by 7:01 a.m. Police successfully evacuated all residents from the home.
The Holmdel Township Fire Department arrived on scene by 7:11 a.m. where they found the home completely consumed by flames.
Mutual aid was requested from surrounding fire companies, including those from Colts Neck, Hazlet, Middletown and Tinton Falls, and the blaze was contained by 10:50 a.m.
The two firefighters injured at the scene were treated on site by Holmdel Township First Aid and later transported to Bayshore Medical Center for further evaluation. One of the firefighters sustained an injury while falling through the floor of the burning structure and the second was treated for smoke inhalation.
Part of Carter’s report will analyze the location of the township’s firehouses, as well as personnel staffing, retention and recruitment methods and response times.
The township dispatches fire trucks from two locations at 14 Crawfords Corner Road and 13 Centerville Road.
Carter has a doctorate of philosophy in fire service administration and has served as a municipal fire protection consultant since 1980. He currently serves as the fire commissioner and board chairman for Howell Township and from 1973 to 1999 he was a fire chief and division commander for the city of Newark.
“Based upon his own independent findings, Carter will make recommendations for a plan that he feels would best serve Holmdel and its residents. The Township Committee looks forward to reviewing his report,” committeeman Rocco Pascucci said.
Carter’s full report will be completed in December and introduced to residents at a Township Committee meeting that month.
This article was first published in the Sept. 6-13, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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