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More Than Forty People Displaced Because of Princeton House of Cupcakes Fire

A fire broke out at the House of Cupcakes around 1 a.m. Photo: Jeffrey Jimenez.
A fire broke out at the House of Cupcakes around 1 a.m. Photo: Jeffrey Jimenez.

The blaze at the House of Cupcakes on Witherspoon Street early this morning that spread to neighboring buildings damaged six apartments, displacing 41 residents, police said.

Firefighters fight a blaze at the House of Cupcakes. Photo: Jeffrey Jimenez.
Firefighters fight a blaze at the House of Cupcakes. Photo: Jeffrey Jimenez.

All of the apartments are uninhabitable, and emergency shelter is being provided to the displaced residents through the Princeton Department of Human Services.

The fire broke out just after 1 a.m. Police received a 911 call reporting that there was a fire at 34 Witherspoon Street. Patrols observed smoke and flames coming from the roof and windows of the building, and residents in the building were immediately evacuated. The Princeton Fire Department was called to the scene, and attempts by patrol officers to extinguish the fire prior to the fire department’s arrival were unsuccessful. The fire spread to neighboring buildings along the roof line.

The Princeton Fire Department  and other mutual aid responders worked to keep the blaze under control, and were able to extinguish the fire after approximately 90 minutes. One mutual aid fire fighter suffered a minor injury during the incident and was taken to a local hospital  because he had knee pain.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Princeton Police Department, the Princeton Bureau of Fire Safety and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

Other agencies at the scene that provided mutual aid were : Mercer Co. Sheriff, Kingston Fire Dept., Princeton Plasma Physics Fire Dept., Lawrence Fire Dept., Hopewell Fire Dept., Montgomery Fire Dept., Hamilton Fire Dept., E. Windsor Fire Dept., Cranbury Fire Dept., Princeton Junction Fire Dept., Plainsboro Fire Dept., Rocky Hill Fire Dept., Pennington Fire Dept., NJ Fire Police, and Princeton First Aid and Rescue.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • SFB

    When the only injury that occurred affected a mutual aid responder, it seems reasonable to ask whether the mutual aid response was appropriate, or brought additional risk to the emergency scene. At a constrained emergency scene, having 15 fire devices instead of three fire devices hardly increases safety, but rather risks firefighters tripping over each other. There is also a question about whether fire-fighting equipment would be in the right place should a second fire break out at another location. I presume the Bureau of Fire Safety will be conducting an investigation as to the appropriateness of having every fire department within a 10-mile radius at the scene.

  • RodneyA

    I think this was the right move, since the possibility certainly existed to have this fire get away from the firefighters. This could have been a whole block that burned if it were not for the abundance of firefighters. I’d rather have too many than not enough. If the fire was too much for the first on-scene, all the thirteen trucks would have been working hard.

  • John above Olives

    I am one of the 40 that had to evacuate this morning. I thought the Police did a great job communicating to the residents displaced, and also was impressed by how fast the main fire was put out by the firefighters. I went outside a little after 1 a.m. when smoke was everywhere and by 2 a.m. the fire/smoke was gone.
    Great job Police and Firefighters. Thank you!

  • Lots of old buildings as @FeistyNJ suggested.

  • FeistyNJ

    Caution a good thing in this case. Witherspoon Street is made up of old (mostly timbered?) buildings jam-packed together. If a large swath of downtown Princeton went up in flames the economic impact alone would be terrible. Glad to hear everyone got out.

  • Macaw64

    Thirteen fire trucks? I suppose there is a fine line between “abundance of caution” and “overkill.”

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