Shopping Center Fire: December 28, 2016

On Wednesday, December 28, the Mendham Fire Department was dispatched to the Kings Shopping Center for a vehicle fire. Upon arrival, responding members reported the the fire had spread into multiple store and a propane powered truck fully engulfed in flames beneath power lines&mdasdh;not exactly routine. Thankfully there were no injuries.

Thank You!

The Mendham Fire Department would like to thank our mutual aid departments from—Brookside, Ralston, Chester, Bernardsville, Long Valley, Morris Township, Randolph, Netcong, Millington, Rockaway Township and Parsippany—as well as the Mendham First Aid Squad, Mendham Borough Police Department, Mendham Department of Public Works and the Morris County Fire Coordinator for their assistance in helping with this incident.

We’d also like to point out that the majority of the first-responders were comprised of volunteers—they can use your help! Please consider volunteering in your community!

Finally we’d like to thank Glenn Schmidle and the folks at the Wicker Basket for providing a generous amount food and coffee to the first-responders during the fire. A tip of the hat to Kings for their support as well.

About the Fire

A garbage truck caught fire at a Mendham shopping center Wednesday morning, damaging four businesses.

The fire started at 6:21 a.m. after a propane tank exploded on the Blue Diamond Disposal truck, said Mendham Borough Police Sgt. and Officer-in-Charge John Camoia. The propane tank provided fuel to the truck.

A passing motorist called in the vehicle fire after he was alerted by the driver, John Cuccolo, who had run to the road to find help, Camoia said.

The truck had been picking up garbage from Dumpsters in a roadway behind the Village Shopping Center on Main Street.

The driver said he “smelled something” and looked behind him and then saw “something aglow” before the truck caught fire, Camoia said.

“The propane tank started shooting out flames pretty abruptly,” Camoia said.

The fuel supply from the truck caused the building housing the businesses to catch fire, according to Camoia.

No one was injured in the blaze, although workers had to be evacuated from two businesses that were open at the time, the Country Coffee Shop and the Wicker Basket.

The coffee shop, and the adjacent Village Pizza, suffered “heavy fire-related damage,” Camoia said in a statement issued late Wednesday afternoon. The truck was also severely damaged. The Wicker Basket, located several stores away, was not damaged, Camoia said.

Two other nearby businesses—the Chocolate Shoppe and Aoyama Chinese and Japanese Restaurant—experienced “heavy smoke damage,” Camoia said.

As a result of the fire, Main Street was closed from Cold Hill Road to Tempe Wicke Road for about three-and-a-half hours.

The blaze was contained by about 8:15 a.m.

Firefighters from Mendham (Borough) “knocked down the fire,” with assistance from firefighters from Mendham Township, Chester, Morris Plains, Randolph, Bernardsville, Netcong, Morris Township, Parsippany, Liberty Corner, Rockaway Township, Washington Township, Millington and the Morris County Office of Emergency Management, Camoia said.

The Mendham Township Police Department and the Morris County Park Police assisted at the scene, Camoia added.

Story by Ben Horowitz | NJ Advance Media for

Additional coverage of the event can be found via the links below.