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Danbury home damaged in morning blaze

Sunday News Correspondent

May 28. 2016 7:30PM
Investigators kept people away from a home in Danbury after a two-alarm fire Saturday morning. (DAN SEUFERT)

DANBURY - No one was hurt in a two-alarm fire at a Route 4 residence Saturday morning that brought a large response from area fire departments and state, county and local police.

But fire investigators had only begun their work at 1462 US Route 4 when the fire was brought under control shortly after 9 a.m. As they began inspecting the badly damaged home, police wound yellow police tape with the words "crime scene" on it around the property in order to keep onlookers at the end of a long driveway.

Later Saturday morning, two investigators from the state Fire Marshal's office inspected the property and the building closely, and firefighters inspected a hole cut through the roof. But no one else was allowed close to the home. State and county police were stationed at the end of the driveway, keeping others away.

Fire Chief Tom Austin and Police Chief David Suckling refused comment on the need for keeping people back. And neither would they identify the lone occupant of the home. That person reported the fire and got out safely, Austin said.

Austin would not say whether the fire is considered suspicious.

"It's under investigation," Austin said when asked directly. "The Fire Marshal will be issuing a press release at some point."

The occupant reported that he woke up Saturday morning and smelled smoke just after 8, so he called for help, Austin said. Firefighters called for a first-alarm immediately, and called for a second alarm when they arrived because the fire was reaching the roof of the log cabin-style home, and because the air was so hot and humid.

"We needed extra manpower because firefighters just don't last as long in weather like this," he said.

The fire appeared to have started on the first floor, which has a cathedral ceiling. The high ceiling helped firefighters "make a great save," Austin said.

"If that was a regular lower ceiling, the heat and flames would have been trapped and spread faster, and we might have lost the place," he said, adding that the home "is probably not a complete loss."

The home, which is listed as under foreclosure on several web sites, took heavy fire, smoke and water damage, he said.

The occupant is now staying with friends, he said.

Fire investigators were still working at the scene late Saturday afternoon. Austin said he did not think the yellow police tape or the in-depth investigation indicate a feeling of suspicion among investigators. Police use yellow tape with the words "Crime Scene" in investigations frequently, he said, whether or not any foul play is suspected.

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