JOHN W. ASHER was born in Camden, New Jersey to James Russell Asher and his wife, the former Helen Surowiec. His father was a member of the Camden Fire Department, having first been appointed in March of 1947.James Russell Asher served until May 1, 1973 when he retired at the rank of District Chief, his service interrupted only by six months' service in the United States Navy in 1951.

The Ashers had lived at 1709 Tioga Street, Camden in the late 1940s. By the mid-1950s James and Helen Asher had moved to 2967 Tuckahoe Road in Fairview. They attended and educated their children at St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church in Fairview

John W. Asher served with the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. He was appointed to the Camden Fire Department in December of 1974, and served until October 5, 1977.

John W. Asher lived in the Fairview section of Camden for many years. His last days were spent in West Berlin, New Jersey. He passed away on April 25, 2011, survived by sons John, James, Joseph, and Jeffrey, and six grandchildren. 

Camden Courier-Post * August 18, 1975

Fatal fire truck crash is blamed on their sirens

Courier-Post Staff

A Camden f ire official said he believes Saturday's collision of two fire trucks that killed one person and injured 14 others was caused by the inability of the drivers to hear each other‘s vehicle over their own sirens.

However. Acting First Battalion Chief Joseph Anderson stressed that he was only “theorizing" and that a full investigation of the crash would begin today. The two trucks, Engines One and Eight, collided at 6th and Pine Streets at about 5:15 pm, Saturday, Anderson said.

The impact of the crash sent Engine Eight, which was heading north on 6th Street, into the Livecchi grocery store while Engine One, which was head ing east on Pine Street, stopped safely about one block north on 6th Street, Anderson said.

The two vehicles were en route to the scene of a minor fire in a vacant house about two blocks from the scene of the collision. Anderson said another truck was called to extinguish the blaze.

Dead was 65-year-old Wilkins Tisdale, of 583 Line Street, Camden, according to Blair M. Murphy, an investigator for the Camden County Medical Examiner’s office, Murphy said the causes of death were internal injuries and a severed arm.

Tisdale, a retired construction worker who had just walked out of the grocery store, was pinned for 90 minutes under a large freezer in the store, Anderson said.

Juanita Dorsey, 34, 704 Pine Street Camden, who had been standing inside the store, was pinned under the freezer when it was hit by the truck, Anderson said. The woman was listed in satisfactory condition in Cooper Hospital with back injuries.

Richard Sorenson, a hoseman for Engine Eight, was in critical condition at Cooper with a punctured lung, broken ribs and a broken nose, right shoulder and right arm.

Paul Delfing. driver of Engine One, and James Peterson, driver of Engine Eight, were both pinned inside the cabs of their vehicles for 20 minutes, and 

 later treated and released from Cooper for head and facial injuries, Anderson said.

Sorenson and five other firemen on the two trucks were all thrown from them by the crash. The other firemen injured were Joseph Chelhowski, captain of Engine Eight, who was in satisfactory condition in West Jersey Hospital, Northern Division with ankle injuries and bruises.

Albert Collum, captain of Engine One, who was in stable condition at Cooper with a concussion, a broken finger, contusions and bruises.

William Smith, a hoseman for Engine Eight, who was being held for observation at or Lady of Lourdes Hospital with head and facial cuts and bruises.

John Asher, a hoseman for Engine One, and Paul Capazola, a hoseman for Engine Eight, who were treated and released from Cooper for cuts and bruises.

Five other persons were injured, none seriously, in the crash. One, Leonard Medford, of 611 Line Street, Camden, was in satisfactory condition at Cooper Hospital with leg injuries. The others were all treated and released from Cooper and Lourdes hospitals.

Anderson said the diesel engines of the two trucks both received “extensive" damage and that he did not know if the eight-year-old trucks, which he said usually last 15 years, could be used again.

Chief Edward V. Michalak said the department has pressed two of its older, auxiliary pumpers into service to keep the city's nine engine companies and three ladder companies at full strength.

Michalak said, however, that the two trucks damaged were among the newest the City owned.

Although he would put no dollar estimate on the damages, he said they were “excessive" and that it would not be known until at least Tuesday whether they could be repaired.

The city will not be receiving any new fire trucks until next April, when delivery of four pumpers is expected.

Although the city has experienced fire truck mishaps before, the chief, a 33-year veteran of the force, said this was the most serious.

He would not comment on the cause of the accident pending completion of the department's investigation.

Camden Courier-Post
August 18, 1975

SPECTATORS peer solemnly at Camden fire truck that crashed into corner grocery at 6th and Pine Street, Camden killing one man and injuring 14 other persons after collision with another fire truck at intersection

Camden Courier-Post
August 18, 1975

CAB of fire engine lies atop freezer where it came to rest after slamming through grocery store wall

Camden Courier-Post - June 2, 2003

On April 25, 2011, of West Berlin, formerly of Fairview, age 60. Beloved father of John (Lisa), James (Stephanie), Joseph (Kimberley) and Jeffrey. Dear brother of Jimmy, Judy, Joyce and the late Janet. Loving grandfather of 6. Mr. Asher proudly served his country in the US Navy during the Vietnam War and was a former Camden City firefighter. There will be a viewing Wednesday morning from 10 am to 12 noon at Gardner Funeral Home, Runnemede. Funeral Service 12 noon Wednesday at the funeral home. Interment private at the request of the family. Relatives and friends may share memories at