Hamilton Officers Tom White and Nick Avanzato were awarded 200 Club Valor Awards for their actions during this incident during the 2011 Luncheon.
HAMILTON TWP., N.J. – January 18, 2011 — Two people are dead after a fire on Tuesday morning in Mercer County, New Jersey. 32-year-old Karl Knamm and 27-year-old Andrea Preston died in the blaze.
The fire was reported at 5:08 a.m. at 30 Forman Drive in Hamilton Township. The first responders on the scene were police officers Thomas White and Nicholas Avanzato who heard a woman, later identified as Jacqueline Preston, age 58, yelling for help.
Patrolman Nicholas Avanzato then broke out the left front window of the home and pulled Mrs. Preston from the fire to safety. The officers then heard Thomas Preston, age 60, also yelling for help. The officers fought through heavy smoke and were able to pull Mr. Preston from the home through the front window.
The officers were then informed that Andrea Preston and Karl Knamm were still in the house possibly on the second floor as firefighters arrived. They went into the house where Andrea Preston and Karl Knamm were found dead. Mrs. Preston was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton to be treated for her injuries. Mr. Preston was also taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton for initial treatment of significant burn injuries. Mr. Preston was subsequently transferred to the burn unit at Temple University Medical Center. The origin of the fire has been determined to be the carport area of the home near the front porch.