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Fire Chief James Voorhis reports that the Westwood Fire Department was called 35 times for emergency
assistance during the month of September 2023. Chief Voorhis reports that one of the calls turned out
to be a serious fire in Westwood. In the afternoon of September 29, a motor vehicle crash caused the
vehicle to catch on fire. Westwood fire firefighters responded with two engines and a rescue truck. The
fire was quickly extinguished by fire crews. No injuries were reported.
The 35 emergency calls, two training drills and two maintenance sessions held in September required
over 400 hours of volunteer time.
The Westwood Fire Department was called out of town for three incidents. To assist the Emerson Fire
Department on two occasions and the Washington Twp. Fire Department at one incident.
On three occasions the 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, at these CO calls a full fire department response is needed. Fire crews
check the buildings with meters and found workers in the building caused one alarm activation, no
cause for one incident. At the third CO call slight readings were found. Following Westwood Fire
department policy, the incidents are turned over to PSE&G gas technicians for further investigation.
After a recent heavy rain flooding occurred in some areas of town. Fire rescue crews responded and
assisted 4 citizens from their flooded cars.
At one unusual incident at a local school, a student’s arm was caught in their desk. Fire rescue crews
were able to extricate the student’s arm without injury.
At three incidents occupants smelled smoke and called the fire department. One call turned out to be a
malfunctioning furnace. Fire fighters shut the gas supply to the furnace and turned the scene over to
PSE&G gas technicians. A seized sump pump motor was the cause of smoke at another call. The electric
was shut to the pump motor with no further action by the fire department needed. A broken water pipe
was thought to be smoke at another call.
During severe weather on September 8, a tree fell into a borough house. Fire crews investigated and
shut the utilities to the building as a precaution.
The Westwood Fire Department and Fire Prevention Bureau would like to remind readers that the
autumn season is in full swing. We all would like a few more weeks of warm weather but the leaves are
starting to fall off the trees and need to be racked to the curb. The Westwood Department of Public
Works does a great job picking up the leaves but they do stay on the streets for a period of time.
Firefighters urge residents never to park on these leaf piles. Many car fires have started by heat from
mufflers and catalytic converters on cars igniting these leaf piles. The fire then extends to the cars
resulting in a family car being destroyed.
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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