Items in South Windsor home make fighting fire more difficult fo - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Items in South Windsor home make fighting fire more difficult for firefighters

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(South Windsor police photo) (South Windsor police photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

A couple was not seriously injured after a house fire in South Windsor on Tuesday morning.

Dispatch received multiple 911 calls about a house fire at 460 Miller Rd. came in just after 7:15 a.m. When crews arrived, thick white smoke could been seen billowing from a home.

"My son was looking outside and he happened to see the fire starting in the back corner," neighbor Chad Davis said. 

According to authorities, Davis' 12-year-old son, Wesley, spotted the two-alarm fire, told his mother and father, who immediately called their neighbors. The couple was sleeping in the home at the time of the fire.

Davis said after alerting his neighbors, he called 911.

"It was very intense, seeing the neighbor's house on fire," Davis said. "It was kind of surreal at the time."

Police said everyone inside the multi-family home safely made it out. When firefighters got there, authorities said the homeowner tried to go back into the burning building.

"We corralled him made sure he stayed outside," South Windsor Fire Chief Kevin Cooney said.

Cooney said the man was trying to get the family dog out from the home. The dog was able to escape the fire uninjured, Cooney said. 

Miller Road remained closed between Foster Street Extension and Ellington Road, also known as Route 74 during the investigation. Police urged drivers to avoid the Barber Hill Road area.

The cause of the fire was under investigation by the South Windsor and state fire marshal offices.

"The fire grew extensively, due to the nature of what was inside the house," Cooney said.

While both the homeowner and a woman living there were safe, their house was melting away. In part, fire officials said because of how much was inside of it. Neighbors said they were the only ones living there.

"The first floor, the living area, is fairly standard, normal," Cooney said. "It was the basement and the garage that was loaded with extra stuff."

Town records show the property that is an illegal junk yard and was cited for violating town ordinances for two years. Six months ago, the town spent $23,000 to clear yard. The house was in foreclosure process, according to town records. 

"This address was known to the South Windsor Fire Department and like many high hazard occupies, operations were based on occupant life safety, Firefighter Life Safety and building conditions. Access to the side and rear of the home was very limited and hazardous. The home had a known excessive combustible fire load," Cooney said in a statement on Tuesday.

Cooney said that "ammunition rounds as well as possible fireworks were being affected by the fire conditions." Those items were removed from the home by fire crews. 

Cooney said the history on the house helped firefighters, but it was still a battle and the fact there have been additions to it, made it harder.

"Whenever you have a house with additional additions to the house, there always void spaces and areas that are hard to access," Cooney said.

Authorities said only the top floor of one home was involved. Within an hour, the main body of the fire was out. However, flames were still rising from the attic nearly an hour into the fire fight.

After authorities deemed the home "unsafe to occupy," the family has been displaced by the fire and received help from the American Red Cross. 

Firefighters from Manchester Fire-Rescue-EMS, Manchester 8th District, Ellington, Broad Brook and Vernon helped the South Windsor Fire Department.

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