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Woman, Dogs Escape Unharmed From Barn Fire



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A 1,850-square-foot barn that had been converted into a woodworking space and an apartment was destroyed by fire during the overnight of March 27-28. The female tenant and her two dogs were able to escape without harm.

The building, at 22 Platts Hill Road, was still standing after firefighters from all five of Newtown’s companies cleared early Sunday morning, but Botsford Fire Rescue Chief Andrew White said the building was not habitable.

“The back half of the building may be savable, but it’s got structural damage so it’s probably not usable,” White, who served as incident command, told The Newtown Bee Monday morning.

Firefighters were dispatched to the property at 11:45 pm, Saturday, March 27, when a call to dispatch reported a building fully engulfed in flames.

White said that upon arrival, firefighters “had fire on two floors showing, coming out two sides” of the building. “The back half of the barn was an apartment, with kitchen, laundry, and bathroom on the first floor, and a loft on the second floor.”

The Red Cross was contacted to assist the woman following the fire. Eversource was also called to the scene.

As is protocol for a structure fire, Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps was also sent to the scene. No injuries were reported during the incident.

Approximately 25 firefighters responded to the fire, according to the fire chief.

Water was shuttled to the scene by tankers, according to White, traveling between locations near Cherry Grove Farm, on the corner of Beaver Dam and Platts Hill Road, and a second location on Beaver Dam.

Getting water to the scene, he said, “was not a problem. It went well.”

Most of the fire was doused by 12:30 am, Sunday, March 28, according to White. The building’s roof gave firefighters a challenge, however.

“We had the fire pretty much out within about 30 minutes, but there was six to eight inches of roofing material. That’s what kept us there for so long, chasing that material.”

That work kept firefighters on the scene for a few more hours. The final firefighters cleared from the scene at 4:12 am on Sunday.

Stepney Fire Department provided station coverage for Botsford, and Southbury Volunteer Fire Association provided coverage at Sandy Hook’s main station during the call.

Fire Marshal Rich Frampton, who also responded to the fire, said on March 29 that the fire started in the woodworking shop, though cause itself was yet to be determined.

“It could be a couple things,” he said.

The barn is on a 5.7-acre piece of property owned, according to the assessor’s online database, by Santo Silvestro.

While its driveway is on Platts Hill Road, the property runs adjacent to Orchard Hill Road. The property is part of the multi-parcel Flying Ridge, a privately owned airstrip.

A firefighter works to extinguish a fire during the early morning of Sunday, March 28, when a converted barn on Platts Hill Road burned. A woman and her dogs escaped unharmed. —Rich Frampton/Office of the Fire Marshal photo
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