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Monty & Rocky Hill Firefighters Help Extinguish Princeton Theological Seminary Blaze

By Barbara A. Preston l August 4, 2021


Firefighters from Montgomery Township and Rocky Hill joined eight other fire companies to put out a fire at the historic Lenox House on the Princeton Theological Seminary campus on Tuesday, August 3. No one was injured.


Police dispatched the Princeton Fire Department and the Princeton First Aid Squad to Library Place, at the corner of Route 206, at 5:11 am. On arrival, firefighters saw a fire blazing through the roof and on the third floor, according to Princeton police.

ABC's Chopper 6 captured video footage by helicopter of the blaze at 31 Library Place in Princeton. This still is from a video of their live coverage.


Princeton first responders found fire through the roof and on the third floor, according to Princeton police. Mutual aid was received from Rocky Hill, Montgomery Fire Companies #1 and #2, Princeton Plasma Physics FD, Plainsboro, Princeton Junction, Kingston, Lawrenceville, Hopewell, and Monmouth Junction.


The fire reached two alarms, and was placed under control at 7:11 am. There are no civilian or firefighter injuries, according to the press release. The fire suppression efforts were led by Chief Thomas Johnson. The investigation is being led by Director of Emergency Services Michael Yeh, Fire Marshal Joseph Novak, PPD Det. Sgt. Benjamin Gering and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. The fire remains under investigation at this time.


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Lenox House, used primarily by the Princeton Theological Seminary for faculty offices, was empty at the time of the fire. It was named for James Lenox, a philanthropist and bibliophile from New York City, and a donor to the seminary. The house was an example of Lenox's generosity to the seminary, according to the book "Princeton University: The Campus Guide" by Raymond Rhinehart.

Designed by Richard Morris Hunt in 1878, the Lenox House belonged to a group of three houses that faced Stockton Street (Route 206). "These, however, fell victim to a uniquely 20th-Century urban cancer—parking lots," according to Rhinehart.


"The aesthetic parents of Lenox House are the Arts and Crafts movement and the late 19th Century American stick style. Whereas the seminary has carefully preserved the exterior of the the house, the inside has been pretty much cut up to house the offices of various research efforts, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls Project."


Thank you for reading. Have a correction or news tip? Email barbara@themontynews.com.




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