N.J. chief: Blaze was 'warning shot' to town about staffing challenges
“A two-man response to a structure fire is not only well below any recognized standard, it is outright dangerous," the Dover fire union said in a statement
By FireRescue1 Staff
DOVER, N.J. — More than 70 people were displaced after a five-alarm fire damaged an apartment building that also housed a tattoo parlor and a restaurant, the Daily Record reported.
Acting Dover Fire Chief Robert Sperry described the incident as a “warning shot” to residents and city leaders of an under-staffed fire department.
Engine Company 5 was first on scene with an initial crew of two firefighters. The scene was upgraded to a second alarm and then a third, due to occupants inside the three attached structures, Dover FMBA Local 60 posted on Facebook.
The scene was upgraded to a five-alarm before crews were able to get the fire under control.
"The initial guys did a great job," said Fire Captain John Sperry, the acting chief’s brother. "The location of the fire, down a narrow street, made it difficult. But they hit the fire quick and knocked down the bulk of it so that it didn't spread further."
Unsafe conditions for crews
Despite the successful response, Dover fire officials are warning the community that it could be worse next time.
“A two-man response to a structure fire is not only well below any recognized standard, it is outright dangerous," the union’s Facebook post read. "The importance of an adequately staffed initial response cannot be overstressed. It determines the outcome of the incident as well as the safety of responders and potential victims."
The union’s sentiments were also articulated by former chief Jon Filosa, who resigned in August as a protest over the town’s lack of commitment to hiring more firefighters.
“I cannot run a department that needs improvements without the ability to make those improvements,” Filosa told the Dover Board of Alderman last month.