Photos and story by Bob Bartosz
October 30, 2008 known by many Cities as “Mischief Night” — In Camden New Jersey it is known for its “Devil’s Night” — but for the last few years it has been very quiet. Including this year. Shortly after 7 p.m. calls were received for a dwelling fire at 516 Stevens Street, in the center city section of the City. The first-in Units reported that they had heavy smoke and fire conditions in a two story brick, middle of the row, occupied dwelling. The home owners had placed steel gates and bars on the porch and windows to protect themselves from harm. This was almost a fatal mistake, as the home owners were unable to exit the blazing dwelling. During their attempt two of the children were injured. A one year old with burns and smoke inhalation and another child with smoke inhalation. They were transported to Camden Cooper Hospital Trauma Center by Camden EMS Unit.
Fire fighters were able to advance three water lines into the second floor of the dwelling containing the fire to two rear bedrooms. The blaze was placed Under Control in about 20 minutes. During a secondary search Fire Fighter Ray Otero, of Engine Company 8 found a small dog under a bed in one of the rear bedrooms. it was a wonder that he was still alive due to the heavy smoke and fire conditions. The homeowner and her daughter were extremely thrilled that the Fire Fighters were able to save their dog. With tears in their eyes they were thanking Fire Fighter Otero for his actions. Over fifty residents on the block had fled their smoke filled homes but were able to return a few hours later. Fire fighters contained the fire to the one dwelling. The only other action during “Devils Night” was a huge rubbish pile in the rear of a warehouse on South 6th Street which had the sky lit up for over an hour but was contained by Engine Company 8, Engine Company 10 and Ladder Company 2, Battalion Chief 1.