Firefighters battled a blaze that appeared to have started in the basement of a home on Ridgewood Road in West Hartford Tuesday night. [Updated Dec. 18]
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford firefighters were on the scene of a structure fire at a single-family home at 155 Ridgewood Rd. late Tuesday night, battling the blaze on an icy night as freezing rain and snow fell.
Fire Marshal Mike Sinsigalli said Wednesday that three occupants were in the home when the fire broke out – parents and their son – and all were able to evacuate. They were evaluated by crews from American Medical Response (AMR), and none required transport for additional treatment.
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One of the family’s two dogs evacuated with them, Sinsigalli said, but after the fire was out firefighters were advised that a second dog had been hiding and might still be in the house. Once the fire was out the crew from Engine No. 1 found a small dog on the second floor that was unconscious and not breathing.
Firefighter/paramedic Rocco Laudato successfully resuscitated and revived the dog, using a specially-designed oxygen mask.
The West Hartford Police Department transported the dog to a local veterinary office for further treatment. According to one of the firefighters who was at the scene, the dog is expected to recover.
According to West Hartford Fire Chief Greg Priest, the blaze was reported as a basement fire at 9:32 p.m., and as of 10:30 p.m. was under control.
Early reports indicated that there was ammunition in the residence, but Priest said it appeared that the ammunition “was not involved in the fire and/or did not significantly impact the event.”
When crews initially responded to the scene, flames were not visible but a smoke condition was found, indicating a fire in the basement on the north side of the house that appeared to be progressing into the wall.
West Hartford Police Lt. Dan Moffo said there had been reports of noises coming from the basement, which officials initially thought could be from ammunition.
The homeowner informed firefighters that there was ammunition in the area of the fire, and officials said Wednesday that a small explosion was determined to be a “smoke explosion and not related to the ammunition storage.”
Sinsigalli said Wednesday that the ammunition stored in the home was completely legal, and the type that would be used for target practice or hunting.
Following the report of ammunition at the scene, however, crews exited the structure and attacked the fire from the exterior, re-entering the basement once the bulk of the flames were extinguished.
The basement of the home sustained fire, smoke, and water damage, and there was minor fire damage to the first floor directly above the location of the blaze. There was smoke and water damage to other areas of the house, but fire officials said they were able to salvage many items, including a large piano.
Despite “very slippery conditions,” officials said, there were no injuries to any of the responders.
Following his investigation, the precise cause of the fire could not be determined, Sinsigalli said, but it was not suspicious in nature.
The house is uninhabitable, Sinsigalli said, due to damage to the floor joists and electrical system, as well as due to smoke damage. The Red Cross provided assistance and the family has a place to stay, he said.
Four of the five stations responded to the Ridgewood Road blaze, and while they were at the scene Quint 4 responded to three medical calls. The New Britain Fire Department was on standby, but their services were not needed.
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