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One Injured During Fire That Destroyed Hawleyville Home



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NOTE (Tuesday, May 7, 2019; 1:59 pm): This story has been updated to include remarks from Hawleyville Fire Chief John Basso and additional information from Fire Marshal Richard Frampton. 

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An investigation was underway Tuesday morning following a fire that destroyed a home in Hawleyville a few hours earlier. 

The circa 1900 home at 5 Farrell Road was destroyed and at least one person was injured during an early morning fire Tuesday.

"Some of the items downstairs may be saved," according to Deputy Fire Marshal Steve Murphy. The house, he added, cannot be lived in, however. He and Fire Marshal Richard Frampton had returned to the house to begin their investigation into the cause of the fire.

A few hours later, Mr Frampton said a clear cause of the fire had not been determined.

"We found a few wires with beading on them, which often leads to electrical problems," he said Tuesday afternoon, "but there is no way of telling for sure if that's what started this fire. We couldn't find any other causes.

"There is nothing that we can really point to and say 'This is it,'" he said.

All five fire companies were dispatched to 5 Farrell Road shortly after 1 am Tuesday, May 7, following a report of a structure fire. A police officer who arrived ahead of firefighters reported a fully engulfed structure.

Hawleyville Volunteer Fire & Rescue Chief John Basso took command of the scene, which was within his company's fire district. Town of Newtown fire marshals also responded to the scene, as did an ambulance crew from Newtown and another from Danbury. 

"We had a one-story house, fully involved, with three occupants," Chief Basso told The Newtown Bee Tuesday afternoon. "They were out of the house at the time of our arrival. One was rescued from the roof, and he was transported to the hospital with severe burns."

No firefighters were injured during the incident. Chief Basso estimated 45 firefighters responded to the scene. 

Monroe was later dispatched to send a standby crew to Botsford firehouse. Southbury sent a tanker to standby at Sandy Hook's main station. 

It took at least an hour to fully knock the fire down, according to Mr Murphy.

Chief Basso agreed with that timeframe, saying that "it was fully involved upon arrival, so there was a lot of fire to put out, and get to.

"We started a transitional attack," Chief Basso added. "We knocked it down from the outside before we went in.

"It took an hour to get the bulk of the fire out, and then another two hours to overhaul it," said Chief Basso. Firefighters used 40,000 gallons of water to put the fire out, he added.

Firefighters were on the scene until about 4 am, according to Mr Frampton. 

Eversource and the American Red Cross had been contacted. An Eversource crew had responded to the scene while firefighters were working to extinguish the fire. 

Hawleyville Fire was dispatched back to the scene a short time later, when an employee from the fire restoration service company JP Maguire thought fire had rekindled. That turned out to be steam, Mr Murphy told The Newtown Bee

Shortly after 8 am Tuesday morning, an untouched Easter garden flag still on its hanger in the front yard was a stark contrast to the burned shell of the home behind it. As Mr Frampton and Mr Murphy worked to assess the damage and photograph the scene, drivers traveling Farrell Road slowed as they passed the wrecked home.

Much of the southeastern section of the house had burned away. The roof had burned through, and a few scorched rafters offered stark evidence of the intensity of the fire just a few hours earlier. 

The northwestern side of the house fared a little better, at least from an exterior view, but the damage was still obvious in the daylight. Charred debris from the inside of the house was on the lawn, and the fire marshals were removing additional debris during their work. 

In the side yard, a pair of lawn chairs had been placed to face toward the west. Located within yards of the structure, the backs of the chairs were melted from the heat. 

Hawleyville Chief Basso said dog was rescued from the fire. Another dog and a cat were still missing when firefighters cleared from the scene Tuesday morning, he said.

According to land records, 5 Farrell Road is a one-story ranch style dwelling owned by Lori Stevens. The 946-square-foot home was constructed in 1900.

Additional details will be added to this story as they become available. Photos and more detail will also be included in the May 10, 2019 print edition of The Newtown Bee.

Fire marshals were back at 5 Farrell Road after daybreak Tuesday morning, a few hours after a fire destroyed the home at 5 Farrell Road. Firefighters from all five of Newtown's companies were dispatched to the dwelling shortly after 1 am May 7, when a fully engulfed structure fire was reported. The occupant of the home suffered burn injuries, according to a fire marshal. The cause of the fire is under investigation.  (Bee Photo, Hicks) 

Firefighters used 40,000 gallons to put out the fire at 5 Farrell Road early Tuesday morning, according to Hawleyville Fire Chief John Basso, who shared this photo with The Newtown Bee.  Chief Basso also estimated 45 firefighters responded to that fire.  (Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company photo) 

Town of Newtown Fire Marshal Richard Frampton inspects a piece of debris found inside the home at 5 Farrell Road Tuesday morning.  (Bee Photo, Hicks) 

A pair of lawn chairs in the side yard of 5 Farrell Road were partially melted and discolored following Tuesday's fire.  (Bee Photo, Hicks) 

This photo from the Town of Newtown GIS files shows the home at 5 Farrell Road prior to the destructive fire that swept through it during the early hours of Tuesday, May 7.  (Town of Newtown/GIS photo)

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