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Six-Alarm Camden Fire Draws Aid from Throughout South Jersey

From 11 p.m. Monday until early Tuesday morning, more than a dozen companies worked to control a warehouse fire at Magnetic Metals in the Cramer Hill section of Camden.

Even the 2 a.m. staging area at the Collingswood diner looked like Park Avenue before .

Mt. Ephraim. Haddon Heights. Lawnside. Barrington. Trucks, gear and volunteers all waited for news from the front lines at 21st and Hayes, where a warehouse fire in the Cramer Hill section of Camden had drawn mutual aid calls from throughout the county.

Early responders to the location included crews from Camden, Cherry Hill,  and Blackwood. They were backed up by scores of firefighters from every company between Deptford and West Collingswood Heights along a perimeter that stretched out for several blocks.

The blaze was quickly designated at three alarms shortly after the initial call came in, just before 11 p.m. Monday evening.

From there, it escalated to a six-alarm, all-hands call that consumed the warehouse of Magnetic Metals, Inc., a multi-site industrial manufacturer that traces its roots in the city to 1942.

"When we got here it was coming through the roof," said West Collingswood Heights Fire Chief Mark Kozak.

Personnel were still wrangling the blaze around 2:30 a.m., when Camden Fire Chief Michael Harper said it was under control, but not yet knocked down. Harper stressed that the site of the fire was an occupied structure.

"As far as we know, it's occupied by Magnetic Metals," he said.

Camden Deputy Fire Chief Ed Glassman said there were no injuries in the fire and no immediately apparent cause of origin.

"We'll investigate," he said.

Alberto Rivas of the Cramer Hill Community Development Corporation watched the action from the parking lot of Mi Casa Village, a rental community situated across the street from Magnetic Metals.

Rivas, who said he has an agreement to store some equipment at the site—lawn mowers, generators and trucks—said that the building was not actively used in any manufacturing purpose.

"They were emptying it out," he said. "There was a lot of paper and boxes."

Despite the size of the fire (and of the response), Harper said Monday night's action wasn't even the biggest in recent memory.

"Last year we had an eight-alarm, a 12, a six," he said. "This is not uncommon."

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