New Jersey Firefighters Struggle to Extinguish House Fire

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A family’s Stowman Drive home burned out of control for several minutes recently while volunteer firefighters standing on the front lawn struggled to get water on the rapidly spreading flames, reports

And the firefighters who were first on scene were not “first due” for the neighborhood, but from other parts of Ewing.

The neighborhood off Lower Ferry Road is in the West Trenton Fire Co.’s territory, but the company never sent any trucks to the Sept. 17 fire, officials confirmed.

Nobody was injured during the 2-alarm fire, but the Ilesanmi family lost most of their belongings when unabated flames roared through their home of 17 years.

The fire, believed to have been caused by carless cooking, was ultimately fought with assistance from firefighters four area towns, including Trenton, officials said.

A 6-minute video of the initial moments of the fire is circulating among local firefighters and was emailed to Ewing officials earlier this week, who anticipate it re-igniting the issue of volunteer firefighters vs. career firefighters, of which Ewing has both.

“Where’s the water?” Funke Ilesanmi, the resident and mother of the family, is heard pleading on the video as firefighters work to connect hoses.

Another time, a visibly frustrated Ilesanmi says of the firefighters, “It took them forever.”

While flames billow from her home, Ilesanmi approached a fire chief at the scene and he ordered her to stand back, barking, “We’re doing the best we can, mam.” 

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