First Arriving Network
Powered by the First Arriving Network,Reaching 1M+ First Responders Worldwide

UPDATE: Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad member is critical after Irene water rescue this morning. NJ Governor Chris Christie issues correction that firefighter had died during storm.

Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad


Around noon on Sunday New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reported a Princeton firefighter had died during a rescue operation early this morning. That information turned out to not be correct. The rescuer did not die, but is in critical condition.

In addition, the person is a 39-year-old member of the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad. The name has not been released.

The official infomation from Princeton Township is that two members of the squad were returning on foot from checking out a vehicle near Johnson Park School that was partially submerged when one of the two slipped into the rushing water. Both squad members were then "unsecured in the water". One of the pair was unharmed and the other was "found unconscious".  EMS, fire & police were initially dispatched to the call around 4:30 AM. The vehicle turned out to be empty.

From the Princeton Township Police Department Faceboook page:

The Governor's report of a Princeton Firefighter death last night is inaccurate. The correct report is that a Princeton First Aid member was critically injured early this morning during a rescue operation. Our thoughts go out to him and his family.'s Victoria Hurley-Schubert has this account of the rescue operation:

The Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad swift water rescue technicians entered the water in an attempt to determine if persons were trapped inside the vehicle, according to the release. During the course of the rescue attempt it was determined that the conditions were too dangerous for the technicians to continue the rescue, and the two assigned rescuers were recalled. While attempting to return to safety, one of the rescuers slipped into the rapid current which set off a series of events which caused both rescuers to be cast unsecured into the water, according to the press statement.

One of the rescuers was able to gain his footing and was brought to safety without incident. The second rescuer was located and found unconscious, and life-saving efforts were initiated at the scene. The second rescuer, whose name is being withheld by police, was transported to a local hospital and was in critical condition, police said. 

From Greta Cuyler at

"Gov. Christie should have checked with the Princeton Fire Chief first," said Fire Chief Dan Tomalin on Sunday, moments after Christie's press conference. 

Princeton Township Police Sgt. Michael Cifelli told Princeton Patch that the first aid worker swept up in flooding during the water rescue was still in critical condition, but not dead.

From's Matt Friedman:

Gov. Chris Christie, at a press conference this afternoon, said that a firefighter in Princeton “succumbed to his injuries from an attempted swift water rescue.”

But the governor's office has acknowledged that Christie was incorrect. The fire fighter is still alive in the ICU, according to Princeton Township Mayor Chad Goerner, who spoke with The Associated Press.


One firefighter was killed this morning during a water rescue operation near Johnson Park Elementary School in Princeton, New Jersey. Here's what is known so far.


A firefighter has died after attempting a water rescue in Princeton, Gov. Chris Christie announced this afternoon.

“We’ve learned that a firefighter has succumed to his injuries from an attempted swift water rescue that took place in Princeton,” said the governor.

Earlier from

An hour ago, one first aid responder in Princeton was awaiting water rescue after going in to rescue someone else, according to Princeton Township Mayor Chad Goerner.

Another first aid responder is in the hospital after being pulled from the same body of water, Goerner said.


Comments - Add Yours

  • Old School

    Christie is an idiot!

    • mdff

      Old School and others, you should be very ashamed to respond the way you did. A mans life was in question not a political career.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Old School, a big fat idiot!

  • anonyomus 2

    christie needs all the facts first

  • anon

    Hope the guy comes out of this okay. 

  • Murphybrown

    What a moron.  I was a journalist for 10 years.  Get your facts before you speak to the press, you jackass!

  • Amazed

    Yeah.. because with all the information that was coming in to his office over the last couple days, everything is going to be perfect…  and with the exception of one post on here.. nice to see you guys are glad that he's in the hospital and not dead… Love your priorities…   Hope everything turns out well for him.

  • TMK

    why dont we focus more on the fact that this is a GOOD thing that the person didnt die. undercover democrats

  • Ben Waller

    I certainly hope that the rescuer survives and returns to full health.  That is the priority. 
    Politicizing a responder near-death is dispicable.  Doing so anonymously is cowardly.

    • M. Fris

      Its easy to make a mistake when so much is going on. Nobody's perfect, "Old School", not even you.

  • Steve in NJ

    Thoughts and prayers to the injured member of the Princeton Squad and also to his fellow personnel. Thats about all we can do until the facts of the incident are revealed during the investigation. Hopefully this incident will have a positive outcome.


    As of 1100 Monday morning, local news outlets are now reporting that the rescuer has died.

  • pipenozzle  Report on that Princeton rescue squad member died today, 29 August 2011.
    Michael Kenwood, 39, had been hospitalized since he was pulled from the water early Sunday with undisclosed injuries. He is the fifth person to have been killed by the storm in New Jersey and the first reported death in Mercer County.

  • JustWonderin

    Sometimes I wonder if people who are stupid enough to venture out in the middle of a hurricane and in the middle of the night, to boot, shouldn't be held liable for the safety of those who go in after them. I understand that rescuers are there to do the job regardless of the circumstances but if you cause injury in a car accident, you're held responsible. Why not when doing something so incredibly reckless as driving into a flood?