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Teen volunteer rolls POV at deadly South Plainfield, NJ fire scene. Goes right to work despite injuries.

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More on the fire at

By now you may have heard about the deadly fire in South Plainfield, New Jersey around 3:00 this morning that left five people dead, including four children. The story is covered in the video above and by our friend Bill Schumm at

Some of the articles I have read refer to a car crash in the same block this morning. A few neighbors say it was the noise of that crash that woke them. News reports indicate that South Plainfield Fire Department volunteer Nick Smith was in his personal SUV heading to the scene when it collided with another car and rolled three times. Despite the violent collision, Smith went to work at the fire.

It isn't clear who was in the other vehicle. That driver suffered minor injuries and has been described in one article as a "a good Samaritan going to help with the fire" and in other articles as a member of a volunteer fire department or rescue squad.

From James Barron at The New York Times:

A volunteer firefighter was treated for minor injuries sustained in a car crash outside the burning house, at 1407 Clinton Avenue at Laurel Lane. Officials said the vehicle of the firefighter, Nick Smith, collided with another car. His sport-utility vehicle rolled over three times, the fire chief, Thomas Scalera, said, but Mr. Smith got out and went to work, joining more than 40 volunteers despite his minor injuries. Chief Scalera said the driver of the other car, who was not identified, was not seriously hurt.

From Ken Serrano

… he collided with another vehicle driven by a good Samaritan going to help with the fire. The accident coincidentally took place right outside the burning home.

Scuffed and scraped, Smith managed to climb out of the vehicle and start unrolling hoses for firefighters set up at the scene of the two-alarm fire, Scalera said.

His fellow firefighters had to persuade Smith to get treated at a local hospital, Scalera said.

Once released from the hospital, he returned to the firehouse on Maple Avenue after the fire was brought under control to help pack up hoses, Scalera said.

Smith suffered a swollen lip and scrapes on his face, the chief said.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • i know everything

    I bet he’s chief someday

    • Mack Seagrave

      So you're saying he's not currently the chief?

  • Anonymous

    As a volunteer I make sure that I am safe going to and coming from a fire. There is no since in people running 100 mph + to get to a fire. There are some in my area that have recieved tickets and had to pay fines for such behavior and (SOP) on our Dept requires that all fire fighters in Personal Vehicles to maintain a no more than 10 mph over the posted speed limit. This is for the safety of others as well as the firefighters.  

  • Fire21

    My heart goes out to the firefighters who experienced this horrible tragedy.  I hope they are able to get counseling to help them deal with this.
    Prayers for the family who lost so many members…how awful for them!

  • B.U.D.

    What good is responding POV?  A neighboring dept. does it all the time. We travel atleast 10 miles to get to their first due and more often than not we are the first truck there.  But hey, atleast they have 5 to 10 pick-ups blocking up the road.  I know that some of the guys drive right by their station to get to calls and don't think its a good idea to get a truck out.  It's only a matter of time before someone in our county responding POV kills himself or another driver.