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Volunteer Fire & EMS Crews in Canton respond to two house fires in 16-hour span

Submitted release

CANTON – Over the course of 16 hours on Oct. 27 and 28, Canton firefighters, EMTs and Fire Police were pushed into service working two significant residential fires. Despite fire crews, many of whom worked both dispatches, arriving within minutes to the homes, flames engulfed both structures making interior attacks especially dangerous.

Mutual aid Fire/EMS partners from: Avon Volunteer Fire Department, Burlington Volunteer Fire Department, New Hartford Fire Department and Simsbury Volunteer Fire Company responded to both fires.

In addition, Tunxis Hose Company No. 1 from Farmington, assisted at Atwater Road.

Tuesday, Oct. 27… 9 Gemstone Drive, Collinsville: Dispatch 7:30 p.m. Fire/EMS crews dismissed at Midnight after overhaul of the scene.

Upon arrival Canton Firefighters, EMTs and Fire Police found the three-bedroom, 2,100 square foot home fully involved in flames. Fire had already pushed up from the basement area, was racing throughout the house and rising out of the roof’s skylight. As firefighters worked on getting the fire under control, EMS crews stabilized two individuals who were found at the property. The patients were transported to UCONN Health and eventually flown by Life Star, to the Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital. (The hospital has now told The Valley Press that they were treated and released).

There was an early report of an unaccounted for individual, but that person was quickly located outside the home.

After a brief interior attack, fire crews were ordered to evacuate the structure due to deteriorating conditions inside the building. They, nevertheless, continued to battle the blaze defensively, from outside the home.

Fire crews stretched 5” hose line, from a stable water supply on Torrington Avenue up to Gemstone Drive, as back-up for responding Engines 1, 3, 4 and 6. Firefighters on Ladder 2 worked three stories up fighting the fire, venting the roof with a chain saw, and reporting the deteriorating conditions to command, while other crews trained fire hoses on the lower levels of the home.

After the fire was knocked down, firefighters re-entered the residence to locate and extinguish the many hot spots, still smoldering, throughout the building.

Chief of Department Bruce Lockwood: “While the cause of the Gemstone fire is currently under investigation by the Canton Fire Marshal, preliminary information indicates that there was a significant delay in calling 911, due to attempts by private individuals on scene to extinguish the fire. This delay in dispatching fire crews created a situation where the fire was able to grow throughout the home unchecked.”

Wednesday, Oct. 28… 14 Atwater Road, Collinsville: Dispatch 11:49 a.m. Fire/EMS crews dismissed at 4 p.m. after overhaul of the scene.

Upon arrival it became clear that this fire, at a four-bedroom, 2,000 square foot home, had been burning for some time before being called in by a passerby on the bike trail nearby. While the majority of fire appeared to be coming from the lower levels of the home, smoke and flames raced across the roof line, eventually surrounding the chimney and collapsing portions of the roof into the structure.

Because there were no individuals or pets at the residence when the fire broke out, and given the aggressive nature of the burn, Canton’s fire attack began defensively, outside the structure. In order for Ladder 2’s crew to reach the home’s roof line, a Canton firefighter used a chain saw to cut through a row of trees and upper branches that were preventing safe access to the residence. Firefighters stretched 5” hose line out to Maple Avenue, as a fail-safe to the reserved water supplies on responding Engines. Canton’s Fire Police closed down Maple Avenue to traffic, from Atwater Road to East Hill Road, for the duration of the call.

Once the fire was under control, firefighters entered the home looking for hot spots only to find that interior floors had been breached, creating large holes between stories.

Chief of Department Bruce Lockwood: “The Town of Canton can be proud of the skill, commitment and work ethic that our Fire, EMS and Fire Police crews demonstrated in these two very challenging back-to-back fires. This is, unfortunately, the time of year when residential fires increase. To help us help you, please remember to properly maintain your home’s fire/smoke/CO detectors; inspect and clean your residence’s chimney(s) at least once a year; and do not ever hesitate to call 911.”


NOTE: No firefighters, EMTs or Fire Police were injured while on either one of these calls. And, while both incidents remain under investigation by the Canton Fire Marshal, it appears that they were both accidental in origin.


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