Homeowners on Castlewood Road in West Hartford were awakened Monday morning by their smoke detectors.
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford firefighters quickly extinguished a fire in the wall of 12 Castlewood Rd. Monday morning, but said it was lucky the residents were at home and had working smoke detectors.
West Hartford Fire Department Lt. James Matthews said that units responded to a report of smoke in the house around 7 a.m. Monday, but nothing appeared on the exterior of the home.
Inside they found a room on the first floor engulfed in smoke.
“The fire had escaped the firebox and had gotten into the wall overnight,” Matthews said. The homeowners had a fire in the fireplace the night before and believed it was out before they went to bed, but it appeared the fire kept smoldering all night, and started eating away at the wall, he said.
The fire was knocked down within about 10 minutes of the fire department’s arrival, said Matthews. The house sustained smoke damage and damage to a wall in the basement and first floor, but could still be occupied.
In older homes, it’s not uncommon to have the mortar decay, creating cracks that fire can seep through, Matthews said.
Jason and Jen Krikscium, who bought their 1932 home last year, were awakened by their smoke detectors.
“Make sure you have working smoke detectors,” Jason Krikscium said.
Jen Krikscium said it was so scary, especially knowing that the house would have probably burned down had they not been home to hear the smoke detectors go off. “All of the stars aligned,” she said. They are both okay, as is their dog.
Matthews said that having a incident like this serves as a reminder to residents to be sure that a fire is completely extinguished before going to bed.
Matthews’ other advice: “Make sure you have smoke detectors right outside the door or that each bedroom has a smoke detector. And change the batteries.”
Matthews also advised having the chimney inspected and cleaned before using the fireplace each season. In addition to decaying mortar, it’s possible to have animals nesting in a chimney, and the nest can burn and cause a chimney fire, he said.
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