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Vacant Hawleyville Restaurant Destroyed By Stubborn Fire



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It took firefighters nearly 4½ hours to douse and then clear from the scene of a fire at 130 Mt Pleasant Road this morning and early afternoon. The building at that location, home most recently to McGuire’s Ale House, was destroyed by a stubborn fire first reported around 9:30 am.

All five of Newtown’s fire companies, Newtown police officers, and Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps were dispatched to the scene. Multiple mutual aid companies were also called in to town for support.

The first calls to dispatch reported smoke and fire showing from the back, or northeast-facing side of the building, and arriving volunteers encountered a thick black plume of smoke as they approached the scene.

The fire eventually spread through the entire building.

By 9:50 am, the three-tone alarm was sounded at the scene, alerting any personnel inside to exit. Firefighters then took an aggressive approach from all exterior sides of the building, but it appeared to be a total loss.

Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company Chief Don Digioia was officer in command.

As apparatus arrived on scene and began staging, Mt Pleasant Road (Route 6) between its intersection with Hawleyville Road (Route 6) and Taunton Lane was closed. Police officers quickly set up detours, and Highway Department workers began distributing detour and road closed signage diverting traffic around the scene.

Smoke was so thick at times that the building and apparatus were completely obscured.

Sandy Hook was able to get an engine up the side driveway and into the main parking lot of the restaurant. Hook & Ladder’s ladder truck was stationed on Mt Pleasant, directing water onto the building from the extended ladder.

Teams of firefighters were seen around the building utilizing several hose lines, and portable ponds were set up to provide water to the scene. Two portable ponds were set up, one on the corner of Mt Pleasant and Hawleyville Road and the second on Mt Pleasant in front of Taunton Lane.

At the height of the fire, road closures extended to Mt Pleasant’s intersection with Old Bethel Road.

An Eversource crew also responded to the scene, and eventually, an excavator was brought in to begin pulling down sections that had not collapsed during the fire. A state fire inspector and sniffer dog also arrived by late morning.

People working in the nearby businesses emerged to watch the goings on. Some ended up stuck within the plaza parking lot or on Mt Pleasant once fire hoses were stretched and then put into use between the portable pond at the Mt Pleasant-Taunton Lane intersection.

Newtown Ambulance was dispatched as a standard practice, but no injuries were reported. That ambulance crew was released around 12:30, as cleanup efforts continued.

The 5,279 square foot, two-story building was constructed in 1984, according to land records. Its decks offered views over Mt Pleasant, Sawmill and Hawleyville roads.

The lot is listed at 1.1 acres. The ale house, its most recent use, has been closed for some time, and the property was being advertised for sale.

At least one owner reportedly arrived at the property by late morning. Hawlevyille firefighters, the final company to leave, cleared from the property and police reopened Mt Pleasant Road just before 2 pm.

This is a developing story. Please check the January 21, 2022 print edition of The Newtown Bee and this website for additional coverage and updates.


Associate Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at shannon@thebee.com.

Multiple fire hoses and the nozzle from the ladder of Hook & Ladder's truck are trained on the building at 130 Mt Pleasant Road Friday morning, when a fire worked through the commercial building. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Hawleyville Chief Don Digioia steps back as a Sandy Hook engine begins ascending the driveway of 130 Mt Pleasant Road after its crew received direction from Digioia. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Hawleyville and Sandy Hook firefighters hit the east side of the building with water. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Water courses out over a side exit after Hook & Ladder Second Assistant Chief Joe Miller opens a door on the west side of the building. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Nearly 2½ hours after being reported, flames showed again from the front, or southern, eaves of 130 Mt Pleasant Road. The worst of the fire appeared to be out a few times, only to show again through the roof or an upper window. —Bee Photo, Hicks
View from the west, showing some of the apparatus on Mt Pleasant and first responders among the trucks. Non-emergency traffic was detoured around the fire scene. —Bee Photo, Hicks
A state fire inspector, left, who was accompanied by a K9 sniffer dog watches as post-incident demolition continues at the fire scene in the noon hour Friday, January 14. —Bee Photo, Voket
A firefighter directs a hose stream at the rubble of the former McGuire's Ale House in Hawleyville after the commercial building was destroyed by a stubborn Friday morning blaze. —Bee Photo, Voket
A Newtown Hook & Ladder firefighter looks on as a town Public Works employee picks apart debris with a claw loader searching for hot spots following a structure fire that destroyed the vacant restaurant at 130 Mt Pleasant Road January 14. —Bee Photo, Voket
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