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West Hartford Firefighters Battle Major House Fire on Brightwood Lane [Updated]

Fire engulfed the garage and spread to the house at 65 Brightwood Lane. Courtesy of Mycah Johnson

A fire that started in a garage on Brightwood Lane in West Hartford spread to the house and caused significant damage Thursday evening.

Fire at 65 Brightwood Lane. Courtesy photo

By Ronni Newton

A Brightwood Lane home is uninhabitable and a family is displaced following a significant structure fire that broke out Thursday evening.

West Hartford Fire Chief Greg Priest said that a call was received by emergency dispatchers at 6:18 p.m. about a garage fire at 65 Brightwood Lane.

“When we arrived on the scene the fire was fully involved, and the garage fire had extended to the residence,” Priest told We-Ha.com Thursday evening. Crews arrived at in five minutes.

Multiple vehicles were also on fire.

Priest said that “quick-thinking bystanders who were in the area had successfully moved out cars from the street,” which allowed easier access for the fire department to reach hydrants and the residence.

The home was occupied at the time that the fire broke out, and all occupants were able to evacuate without injury, Priest said. He did not have details about the number of occupants but said it was at least one adult and several juveniles. No information was available about whether or not there were any pets in the house.

There were no injuries to firefighters.

The architecture of the home – with steep-pitched roofs – made it a challenging fire to attack, and the fire had made significant headway and extended into the attic by the time crews arrived. Aerial operations could not be used to attack the fire and firefighters had to work from roof ladders “to expose, extinguish, and ventilate the fire.”

At the same time, crews also attacked the fire from inside the house using hose lines, Priest said.

The fire took about 90 minutes to bring under control, and firefighters remained on the scene long after that.

The Hartford Fire Department provided mutual aid – in part because West Hartford crews were already on the scene of a chimney fire on Ellsworth Road when this fire erupted, Priest said. The New Britain, Newington, and University of Connecticut fire departments also provided coverage for the West Hartford community while the fire was brought under control and clean-up was underway.

Priest said he is thankful for the help of the West Hartford Police, building officials, American Medical Response, and the town manager who were all on scene.

“Significant fires such as this one highlight the need for quick responses, decisive action, and well-trained fire department teams who function efficiently as well as the value to having excellent relationships with mutual aid partners,” Priest said.

“I’m very proud of the guys,” Priest said, for the way they responded to this challenging fire.

The house is currently uninhabitable and Priest said that the Red Cross has been contacted and is prepared to provide assistance to the occupants with shelter and other necessities if needed.

The fire remains under investigation, but Priest said that it appears to have been accidental and may have been caused by cooking activities.

Priest said it has been a challenging couple of days, with this fire following three structure fires in three hours on Wednesday.

The fire marshal has reviewed the recent spate of fires, and “there is no evidence to suggest that the fires are related to each other. However, the one commonality is that all have characteristics indicating that they were accidental in nature,” Priest said.

“This presents the opportunity to remind our residents of the importance of fire safety education,” said Priest.

Town Manager Matt Hart also expressed his pride in the way the men and women of the West Hartford Fire Department faced the challenges of the past two days. “We’re fortunate to have such a dedicated and competent team with experienced leadership. The police department has offered great support as well,” Hart said.

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