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Princeton Fire Causes Continued Road Closure [VIDEO]

A road closure remains in place in Princeton following yesterday’s fire of a milling machine that hit a gas main.

Fire on Ewing Street in Princeton
Fire on Ewing Street in Princeton (Brian McCarthy)

Ewing Street remains closed between Valley Road and North Harrison Street according to Princeton Police as repairs are made to the street and gas main which was finally shut off just before 3:00 on Wednesday afternoon.

Residents of 8 homes have been allowed to return to their homes but until repairs are complete they will have no gas service reports the Times of Trenton.

The fire of the $700,000 piece of equipment owned by Top Line Construction, which was being used for the first time, burned for several hours while PSE&G tried to get around the Catch-22 situation in turning off the gas line fueling the fire.

“They can’t take steps to do that with the milling machine in place, and they can’t move the milling machine because it’s still on fire,” Sgt. Mike Cifelli told the Times Of Trenton. He added that if the gas line had simply been shut off, “it would’ve taken out gas to about a quarter of the town.”

Was The Street Marked?

Firefighters at the fire of a milling machine in Princeton
Firefighters at the fire of a milling machine in Princeton (Seth Callen)

Question are being raised about how well the street was marked indicating the gas line. Top Line Construction co-owner Steve Castela told the Patch of Princeton PSE&G did not come out and mark the street after being contacted by Top Line. “They didn’t come out,” Castela told the Patch. “Had this been marked, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Robert Kiser, Princeton’s Municipal Engineer, says the gas line struck by the milling machine was only 8 or 9 inches under the road. “It’s extremely unusual that a gas main or service is that high, it’s typically located 2-3 feet underground,” Kiser told the Patch.

A representative for PSE&G told the Patch that marks were put out “but the exact location of the mark outs remains under investigation,” PSE&G Kristine Snodgrass wrote in an email. “Whenever working near gas lines, contractors are expected to demonstrate reasonable and prudent care.”


Photo & video courtesy Brian McCarthy. Additional photo courtesy Seth Callen.

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