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Five Local Fire Companies, Mutual Aid Fight Two Recent Structure Fires



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All five of Newtown’s fire companies as well as a number of neighboring community firefighters responded to two structure fires that occurred within a week’s time. The first fire on November 18 was on New Lebbon Road and the second on November 23 occurred on Ferris Road.

According to Botsford Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Peter Blomberg, the New Lebbon Road fire occurred at roughly 12 pm and saw 25 firefighters report to the scene.

Though firefighters responded within minutes of the call, the building, which according to Fire Marshal Richard Frampton was an outbuilding used to store construction materials with no utilities, was fully involved and “demolished.”

The fire was discovered and called in when a neighbor saw the outbuilding on fire.

Additionally, Frampton said there was an explosion when a propane tank stored in the outbuilding ignited. The fire also ignited some brush around the area that firefighters had to extinguish.

Blomberg said the fire was put out within 5-10 minutes, but a backhoe had to be brought in from the town to move the collapsed building material to look for and put out hotspots. Firefighters were on scene for roughly an hour.

Approximately 12,000 gallons of water were used extinguishing the blaze and tankers were sent to a suppression unit on Aspen Lane to fill up with water.

Neighboring departments from Southbury and Bethel assisted with mutual aid covering the headquarters of the Newtown companies. Newtown Volunteer Ambulance also responded to the scene.

The Ferris Road fire on November 23 occurred at approximately 8 pm and, according to Frampton, started after the homeowner was soldering some plumbing pipes in the basement. Some embers from the soldering got on the wall, and burned through to the outside at the back corner of the house, before fire started up the outside wall.

That is when he said the fire was noticed and fire companies were called in.

All five fire companies responded to this scene as well, led by Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, according to Assistant Fire Marshal and Dodgingtown Fire Chief Steve Murphy. Additionally, Bethel Fire Department responded with some tankers, but they were canceled before arriving. Newtown Emergency Medical Services responded and evaluated the homeowner.

Dodgingtown firefighters used two fire hoses, one looped around to the back of the house, and the other through the front door and into the basement to extinguish the blaze, which took 5-10 minutes. Firefighters were on scene for approximately two hours, ripping out some of the wall looking for hotspots and using fans to blow smoke from the home.

Damage was limited to where the fire started and Murphy said the homeowner was able to stay in the home following the blaze. Firefighters used 300 to 400 gallons of water to extinguish the fire, but there were “plenty of fire trucks on scene” in case things turned for the worse, said Murphy.

Supporting Local Firefighters

All five fire companies are currently seeking volunteers. Blomberg and Murphy both noted that their companies meet every Monday, and those interested in inquiring can call or head down to talk about volunteer opportunities.

Murphy said that in addition to certified firefighters capable of entering buildings to fight a fire, the companies also need firefighters who can respond to a scene to help fetch equipment, pull hose lines, and other duties.

Companies also need fire engine drivers and pump operators, who must be licensed and trained. Pump operators need to know how much water pressure to give to a hose line, because “too little and there’s not enough pressure to put out the fire, and too much and the firefighter holding the line will get thrown around,” said Murphy.

Additionally, there are some volunteers who do not go on calls but do administrative work, such as serving as elected company president, treasurer, and secretary.

For those with limited time to give to their local fire companies, financial donations to assist them beyond the money they receive from the town are always appreciated. The fire companies also present varying fundraisers through the year, with partial or full proceeds benefitting the host.

Blomberg and Murphy both said to get more information about volunteering or to donate, visit the respective website and Facebook pages for each company:

Botsford Fire Rescue — botsfordfirerescue.com, facebook.com/BotsfordFireRescue

Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company No. 1: dodgingtownfire.com, facebook.com/Dodgingtownfire

Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company No. 1: hawleyvillefire.com, facebook.com/hawleyvillefire

Newtown Hook & Ladder: newtownhookandladder.com, www.facebook.com/newtowhookandladder

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue: sandyhookfire.com, facebook.com/SandyHookFire

Associate Editor Jim Taylor can be reached at jim@thebee.com.

Firefighters from Botsford Fire Rescue, assisted by all four other Newtown companies, extinguish a fire at an outbuilding that stored construction materials on New Lebbon Road on November 18. —photo courtesy Botsford Fire Rescue
Damage to a house on Ferris Road was evident after embers from a home repair using a soldering kit caused a fire on November 23. Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 responded, with assistance from all four other fire companies. —photo courtesy Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company No. 1
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