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Blaze Too Risky, Firefighters Let Home Burn to the Ground

Firefighters in Shelton, Connecticut, decided to let one home simply burn to the ground, after they had the neighbors safely evacuated. That’s a decision fire crews don’t make often. This time, they didn’t have much choice. They got the call, arrived on scene, started hooking up their hoses, then saw fireworks going off from the garage. That’s when they learned the whole house was pretty much stuffed with commercial grade fireworks. Since that was what they were up against, it was too dangerous. They simply pulled the crews back and watched it burn.

Home deemed uninhabitable

It’s clear to see why city officials dropped off a notice that they “deemed the home uninhabitable.” That’s because there’s nothing left but a smoking patch of dirt where the house had been. Nobody was injured in the blazing inferno but the family of three and their dog have been “displaced.

Their insurance adjuster will be asking a whole bunch of awkward questions about how and why they were storing commercial grade fireworks in a residence. If they don’t like the answers, they won’t cut a check to cover the damage.

When reporters caught up to Deputy Fire Chief Paul Wilson, he didn’t have many details because the controlled burn was still in the planning stages.

The basic idea was to get everyone in the area clear and simply watch the fire, to keep it contained. Other than that, there wasn’t much to do except roast hot dogs, while the modest single-family home burned to the ground.

Emergency Management Director Michael Maglione explained that “residents in the neighborhood received a CodeRed message and an email about the planned burn.

They were mostly concerned with “the two homes on each side of the Bruce Drive residence and a home across the street.” Those families had to stay away until the blaze was out. They evacuated everyone at 7 a.m. and expected to be able to give the all clear around 4 that afternoon.

The entire house was pretty much stuffed full of commercial grade fireworks.

Not told about the fireworks

It would have been nice, the firemen noted, if the owners mentioned all those fireworks when they called in the fire. It’s understandable that people tend to panic under such circumstance and forget things.

They also probably were afraid that the fire crews wouldn’t come to their home knowing how explosive it was. They still would have responded, just a lot more carefully.

According to Deputy Chief Wilson, they got reports of “a visible fire.” When they got there, the fire at the front of the house was obvious. As they parked their equipment, the flames began extending up to the second floor.

Because they didn’t have a clue of the danger, “the initial hose line was deployed.” That’s when crews observed the fireworks lighting off.  Any time fireworks or explosives are involved in a home fire, “the danger to firefighters” goes through the roof, Fire Marshal James Tortora observes. “Especially if the amount and types are unknown.

They had a crew of about 30 firefighters at the scene, who watched explosion after explosion like popcorn as the home burned with complete freedom.

Investigators still haven’t determined what sparked the blaze but the homeowners are in serious trouble. “Police said they expect to file charges in the case.

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