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Fire Chief James Voorhis reports that the Westwood Fire Department was called 28 times for emergency
assistance during the month of March 2023. Chief Voorhis reports that one of the calls turned out to be
a serious incident.
An attic fan at a local residence caught fire. The fire was put out by the homeowner before the arrival of
the fire department. However, as a precaution fire crews checked the surrounding area and the attic.
The fire did not extend beyond the fan. The fire department advised the resident to have the fan
repaired by a qualified repair person.
The 28 emergency calls, five training drills and two maintenance nights required over 425 hours of
volunteer time
The Westwood Fire Department was called to assist the Emerson Fire Department three times and
received mutual aid from River Vale Fire department at one call.
Automatic fire alarms were received seven times in February. Although no fires existed at any of these
incidents, a full fire department response is required. Firefighters check the entire building to determine
if an actual fire exists. A variety of problems caused these automatic alarms: workers in the buildings
unintentionally activated alarms, cooking smoke activated alarms, two malfunctioning systems and
vaping near a smoke detector caused fire department responses.
Four times fire department responded for Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarms. Carbon monoxide, CO, is an
odorless and colorless gas given off by improperly burning heating or cooking equipment. It can be fatal
at high levels. Again, each of the CO calls required a full fire department response. Fire crews check the
entire building with meters and determined that at three CO incidents fire crews found malfunctioning
detectors and at one call the alarms were being tested without notifying the fire department ahead of
time. The occupancies were turned over to PSE&G gas technicians for further investigation.
One time citizens smelled natural gas at a residence. Fire crews checked with meters and found a
malfunctioning air conditioning unit caused the smell. Fire fighters shut the power to the unit and
advised to occupant to have the unit checked by a qualified A/C technician.
On one occasion the fire department rescue crew was called to the scene of an overturned car at a
motor vehicle crash. The occupant was out of the car when fire crews arrived. Fire crews stabilized the
vehicle, applied absorbent material to fluid spills and stood by until the vehicle was towed away.
Even though we are several weeks into spring the Westwood Fire Department and Fire Prevention
Bureau would like to point out that this is the time of year when you can “Spring Clean” certain fire
hazards in your home.
Take the time to go through the attic, basement, or cluttered closets and donate, recycle,
and/or throw away any unneeded, accumulated items such as newspapers, magazines,
packaging, boxes, and clothing, all of which become potential fire hazards when stored in large
quantities. Never store combustibles close to the water heater or furnace. Three feet away is a
good rule of thumb.

While often overlooked, not cleaning the clothes dryer vent can pose a significant fire hazard.
When the highly combustible lint accumulates, it reduces the airflow, which can increase the
temperature enough to ignite it!
Test all windows, not only to ensure that their locks are working properly, but that they can be
quickly and easily opened from the inside, should you need to use one as an emergency exit. In
many situations the window is your second way out if the first way out (a door) is blocked by
fire or smoke. And most important: have working smoke detectors in the home.
This article was submitted by the Westwood Fire Department. Any Fire Department related questions
can be e-mailed to or by calling 201-664-0526. The fire prevention bureau
can be reached at or by calling 201-664-7100 ext 308. PLEASE NOTE; THESE PHONE

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