Trenton, NJ (Mercer) – In a devastating incident that unfolded this afternoon (Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023), a two-alarm fire erupted in a high rise building, leaving several individuals critically injured and causing significant damage to at least one apartment. The exact number of casualties remains unknown at this time, but reports from the incident commander and other emergency personnel on site suggest that three victims experienced cardiac arrest and were promptly transported to nearby hospitals. Moreover, an individual with severe burns was also reported, although it remains unclear whether they were among the aforementioned cardiac arrest cases.
The fire broke out at approximately 1:25 p.m. within the 15-story Trent Center West apartment building, located at 465 Greenwood Avenue. Unfortunately, numerous Trenton fire companies were already engaged in other assignments, putting a strain on available resources. Nonetheless, Engines 3, 10, and 6, Ladders 2 and 4, Rescue 1, and Battalion 7 were swiftly dispatched to the scene. As the situation unfolded, Engine 1, Special Services 2, and Battalion 3 were also summoned, further reinforcing the initial response. Upon arrival, first-due firefighters confirmed the presence of an active fire on the first floor, prompting the transmission of a second alarm at 1:52 p.m. This additional call brought Ladder 1 to the scene, accompanied by a mutual aid ladder company from Hamilton, an engine company from Lawrence, and Signal 22.
Amidst the chaos, Capital Health paramedics and Trenton EMS personnel urgently requested mutual aid ambulances from Ewing, Hamilton, and neighboring areas to assist in the treatment and transportation of victims. Firefighters valiantly navigated through the smoke-filled environment, diligently searching for and rescuing individuals trapped within the building. Regrettably, one firefighter sustained a minor injury during the operation but was swiftly treated on site. Although the fire was promptly extinguished, the pervasive smoke had permeated all levels of the building, necessitating a comprehensive search and evacuation process to ensure the safety of residents. Numerous additional victims were discovered on the upper floors, requiring assistance to descend to the lobby and subsequently be escorted outside.
A large gathering of displaced residents congregated in the parking lot, anxiously observing the tireless efforts of emergency personnel. The fire was eventually declared under control at 2:57 p.m., providing a glimmer of hope amid the devastation. However, as of 5 p.m., city, county, and state fire and law enforcement investigators remained at the scene, diligently working to ascertain the cause of this tragic event.
Throughout the ordeal, the resilience and expertise of the responding firefighters and emergency medical personnel were on full display, exemplifying their unwavering commitment to public safety. The community, deeply impacted by this calamity, anxiously awaits further updates on the condition of the injured and seeks solace in the ongoing investigation.