The fire that broke out at Viking Plumbing almost two (2) weeks ago on September 16th has shown the Colineri’s something about themselves and the neighborhood that their business has called home since 1946.
“Things are getting better, slowly but surely,” John said in a follow-up interview, “We’ve been open (for business) since the 17th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.”
The report from the Roselle Park Fire Department was released to the Colineri family, with the findings that the building on Columbus Place was hit with two (2) lightning strikes – each coming in at 8,900 volts. Fortunately, the building was empty, having closed up and everyone having left for the night 12 minutes earlier.
“We were out on two calls for houses struck by lighting,” firefighter Joseph Signorello stated, “They turned out to be false alarms when the call came in for a possible working structure fire on Columbus Place.”
The fire department was already on Seaton Avenue when the call came in, which was one factor in the quick response. Once on the scene they could see smoke coming out of the building. They dropped their lines, followed the protocol for a fire which included using their ladder, and called for mutual aid.
“We had good cooperation from Union County mutual aid. Everyone did their job,” Joseph Signorello said with regard to the call for assistance that included fire companies from Union Township, Cranford, Kenilworth, Clark, and Plainfield – with Hillside on standby if another fire call were to come in.
“We didn’t want a flashover,” Signorello stated, referring to the point in a fire when gas and heat get to a certain boiling point and cause a sudden burst of flames (see below for example). Fortunately, the flashover was prevented by the Union Fire Department opening up the roof to relieve the pressure that was building up inside, “We hit the ceilings and put three hoses up there.”
The immediate response to the fire was initiated by a phone call from James Sevret, Jr., a neighbor who lived next door and not only called 911 but also tried to hold back the fire by jumping over a fence and using a garden hose to help put it out before the fire department arrived. Additionally, business owner John Colineri was able to communicate with the firemen to let them know the layout of the building which saved time in navigating through the fire.
After the fire, John Colineri recalled all the neighbors and customers who passed by the business to see if the family needed anything and to help clean up. He was touched by the support, “This is a nice community with all the people that came by.”
Viking Plumbing, which consists of three (3) buildings is still doing business with the entrance temporarily moved to Hawthorne Avenue, the street right behind Columbus Place. The old electrical service was abandoned and a new one was put in; now the Colineri’s are waiting for Public Service to power it up, “We expect something this week,” John stated.
“The fire departments and all the services that were here, I want to tell you something, (they were) very professional. I have the utmost respect for the services that were here. They saved our building,” John said, grateful for all the people who fought the fire.
The history of the property goes back to 1907, when it housed the first church in Roselle Park, and going forward, the Colineri family sees no reason to upend the roots that have been a part of Roselle Park’s history. Jenna Colineri, John’s daughter, addressed that sentiment in a letter to thank the entire town, “We knew that the history that lives within the walls of Viking would never die.”