MCCC Grad and Firefighter Mateusz Kuklinski Stays Ready During Coronavirus Pandemic

Story by Brandon Johnson

Lawrenceville, N.J. – While the entire world fixates on alleviating the COVID-19 pandemic, Mercer County Community College (MCCC) graduate Mateusz Kuklinski is helping out in a different way.

Kuklinski, who came to Mercer from Lawrence High School, is serving his community as a firefighter in Lawrenceville less than a year after he graduated from Mercer’s Criminal Justice program.

“I started volunteering with the Lawrenceville Fire Company Station 23 in May of last year, shortly before I graduated from MCCC,” Kuklinski said.

After he left Mercer, he enrolled in the Fire Academy at the Dempster Fire Training Center, which provides a “central training focus for the fire service community in and around Mercer County.” By December 2019, Kuklinski was a full-fledged firefighter.

On the job, Kuklinski performs a variety of rescue and emergency services.

“We respond to service calls for fire, carbon monoxide and smoke alarms and detectors, elevator rescues, water rescues, fire conditions, motor vehicle collisions, uncontrolled water leaks, gas leaks, downed wires, cat rescues and more,” Kuklinski said.

But even though the station remains active during the coronavirus pandemic, Kuklinski said it’s not business as usual.

“Since we are an essential service, we still respond to all of these emergencies,” Kuklinski said. “We do, however, have to be a little more cautious now in our response.”

According to James McCann, Senior Director for the Mercer County Fire Academy, fire service, like police and EMS, are faced with potential COVID-19 exposure on their calls.

“A health care crisis of this magnitude is unique," said James McCann, Senior Director of the Mercer County Fire Academy.  "Firefighters receive guidance from the state and federal agencies on how to further protect themselves above their normal levels of turnout gear protection."

Currently, Kuklinski’s station has closed to the public to ward off the spread of coronavirus.

“We have had to cancel trainings until further notice. We ask that our members who are sick or are not feeling well stay at home,” Kuklinski said. “We are practicing social distancing and are keeping our station neat and sanitized.”

Though Kuklinski stays on call, ready to report as needed during the quarantine, he noted that even those without emergency training can make a difference in “flattening the curve.”

“If you’d like to help, the absolute best thing you can do without emergency training is to stay home as much as possible,” Kuklinski said.

“And, if you are in need of emergency services like fire, police and EMS, we are asking you to let the dispatcher know if you are sick or experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 so we can protect ourselves and give you the proper care.”

Are you ready to help us keep our students on track to finish classes and graduate? Then share and support our MCCC Student Emergency Fund. Donating at, or by texting MercerMatters to 41444, will help keep students enrolled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every dollar matters!


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Mateusz Kuklinski on the job with the Lawrenceville Fire Department.

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