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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fireplace Embers Touch off Roof and Attic Fire

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A Sunday morning fireplace fire touched off an attic and roof fire today at a two-story home on Westport’s Washington Avenue, the Fire Department said. Image
A Westport firefighter snuffs out flames on the roof at 53 Washington Ave. today.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The fire broke out at 53 Washington Ave. at about 9:30 a.m. as the homeowner, his son, and his mother were inside. They escaped unhurt after being alerted to the fire by a neighbor.

The fire damaged the roof and unfinished attic, said Assistant Chief Bill Dingee.

He said the Fire Marshal’s Office found hot embers from the chimney landed on the wood roof shingles setting them on fire.

The homeowner told firefighters he smelled smoke at about 9 a.m. and checked the interior of the house, but found nothing.

Dingee said smoke detectors did not activate as the fire and smoke were confined to the roof and unfinished attic areas of the home where there were no detectors.

The initial 911 call came from a neighbor on Evergreen Parkway who spotted flames on the rooftop, Dingee said.

All the town’s four engine companies, a rescue vehicle, as well as the Wilton ladder truck responded to the scene. Westport’s ladder truck is undergoing repairs from damage caused during Storm Sandy.

An engine from the Fairfield Fire Department covered headquarters for any additional calls.

Firefighters stretched a hose line up the interior stairs to the attic and quickly extinguished the fire, the assistant chief said.

Tarps were placed on items on the second floor to protect them from water runoff and additional burning roof materials were removed to complete extinguishment, Dingee said.

Firefighters also removed burning logs from the fireplace and extinguished them on the front lawn.

The majority of fire damage was to the roof shingles with minor water and smoke damage to the second floor, Dingee said.

A total of 24 firefighters responded to the scene. The last fire department unit cleared the scene at 11:15 a.m., he said.

Posted 11/25/12 at 06:24 PM


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Let’s get the counts right; four engine companies (How many vehicles is that?), a rescue vehicle and a guest ladder truck from Wilton that doesn’t appear to have been used, 24 firefighters, and 6 “articles” on WestportNow, in response to a fire that could have, in a pinch, been put out with a garden hose.

Quick response to a fire is important, but such a vast over response seems, at best, like a lack of good judgement by somebody and leaving everyone else at risk in case a real emergency arises. At worst, it shows a department trying to justify it size by running up their rescue statistics.

In an era when the our government is under assault, this is not efficient delivery of government services. In general, I’m proud of our town’s government, but I am concerned.

Posted by Nicholas Pisarro, Jr. on November 26, 2012 at 12:39 AM | #

I just received a call from a gentleman from the fire department who explained why the response by the fire department was necessary.

“Whenever, we receive a call for a structural fire, we always send out all available equipment. We can not access the extent of such a fire over the phone. The same call may be for a fire that might be easily controlled our it may be a major fire, like that at Saugatuck Congregation Church. Once we get there and can assess the fire, we return equipment that is not needed.”

That seems to me to be a proper response, and so I stand corrected. My comments were not fair and I respectfully withdraw them. My apologies.

Posted by Nicholas Pisarro, Jr. on November 26, 2012 at 01:43 AM | #

It takes a big man to admit an error. You, sir, are a class act in my book.

Posted by Dominick Romano on November 26, 2012 at 05:31 PM | #

I couldn’t agree more!!!  Cheers!!!!

Posted by Tracy Flood on November 27, 2012 at 05:44 PM | #

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