Camden Fire Department
Fire, Rescue, & Safety Operations
March 2, 2012 - 1281 Decatur Street

This page and the other pages in this series are the successors to the series of web-page about the Camden Fire Department that began with the page Camden Fire Department: The Fires of the Summer of 2011. On this and other pages in the series you will find pictures and information regarding different events and aspects of the fire service in Camden, New Jersey. 

A fire in the early morning hours of March 2, 2012 took the life of a trespasser in a vacant row house at 1281 Decatur Street. Valiant efforts by units of the Camden Fire Department prevented the fire from spreading to adjacent legally-occupied homes.

Units were dispatched to 1281 Decatur Street at approximately 3:15 AM. Squad Company 7 arrived with heavy fire showing from the first floor of the two-story middle of the row dwelling. Battalion 1 arrived and struck the All Hands Box. Crews secured a water supply and led off with a 1-3/4" hand line as a back up line was being stretched. Companies opened up and performed a primary search. Crews located one occupant and removed the victim from the dwelling. EMS transported the victim to the hospital where the victim was pronounced dead. At the 10 minute mark Battalion 1 reported heavy fire conditions on the second floor. Crews operated with two hand lines until the fire was brought under control. No firefighter injuries were reported on the fire ground. The fire is under investigation by the Camden City Fire Marshals Office, Camden County Prosecutor's Arson Unit  and the Camden Police Department. The death was ruled a homicide later that day. 

Photos take at this fire are courtesy of Ted Aurig. More photos taken by Ted can be seen at

As with the web page covering other Camden Fire Department events, if you can identify anyone that I've missed, please e-mail me. (I'm terrible at at names and faces).. 

Phil Cohen
March 6, 2012


Camden Courier-Post - March 2, 2012

Camden fire crews find body in burned row home

CAMDEN ó Firefighters battling an early morning Camden house fire discovered a body in the burned out row home, according to fire officials.

The blaze was reported early this morning in a home in the 1200 block of Decatur Street. 

Later on Friday morning a fire official and a Camden police officer were still on scene. 

The home, which appeared to be abandoned, is in the cityís Whitman Park neighborhood.

Firefighters removed a victim from the house. EMS transported the occupant to the hospital where they were later pronounced. The fire is under investigation.

Photo By Ted Aurig

Photo By Ted Aurig

Battalion Chief Frank Saia
Photo By Ted Aurig

Photo By Ted Aurig

Camden Courier-Post - March 3, 2012

Police identify victim in Camden arson

CAMDEN ó Police have identified the man killed in an arson Friday morning.

The body of Paul Johnson was discovered on the second floor of the home in the 1200 block of Decatur Street about 4:15 a.m., some 30 minutes after the fire was reported, according the Camden County Prosecutorís Office.

An autopsy Friday concluded the cause of death was smoke inhalation, authorities said.

Anyone with information on this fire is asked to contact Prosecutorís Investigator Chuck Farrell at (856) 225-8653 or Camden Police Detective Shawn Donlon at (856) 757-7420..

Philadelphia Inquirer - March 3, 2012

Arson fire kills homeless man in Camden

Authorities have identified a 65-year-old elderly squatter killed Friday morning in a Camden arson fire.

After battling a blaze that burned through a rowhouse on the 1200 block of Decatur Street, fire fighters found Paul Johnson on the second floor of the home around 4:15 a.m., police said. 

An autopsy ruled the man had died from smoke inhalation, and the Camden County Prosecutor's Office ruled the death a homicide.

Return To Camden Fire Department
Fire, Rescue and Safety Operations - 2012