Woodbridge Fire Chief: The Most Difficult Fire Ever

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Jan 062018

(photo by mary ann)

Last night, Orange Live reported that the Orange Volunteer Fire Department was assisting Woodbridge volunteers at a house fire on Inwood Road in Woodbridge.

Tonight, after giving him some time to catch his breath and warm up, we spoke to Woodbridge Fire Chief Sean Rowland about the blaze and the challenges they faced in the frigid weather.

Rowland said that the fire is still under investigation, but they know that it started in the garage. The family escaped unharmed and by the time firefighters arrived, the home was fully involved.

“This was the most difficult fire we’ve ever had that I know of,” Rowland said. The subzero temperatures froze the fire hoses, trucks and air packs, Also, the ground surrounding the home was a sheet of ice, further complicating an already hazardous situation.

Although there were no serious injuries, six firefighters were “injured” at the scene – 2 with high blood pressure issues, one had to get stitches, one hurt his back, and one twisted his knee on the ice (and one other thing that I can’t remember as I was driving when we spoke).

It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold, dry or wet, early or late, the tri-town volunteer firefighters leave the comfort of their homes to answer a call whenever they are needed. That’s why they joined the volunteer fire department and go through extensive training — so they can help others in their time of need.

Sadly, this home is a total loss. Thank goodness the family escaped injury, and no one was seriously hurt.

Amity teacher Rob Kennedy said a Gofundme page has been set up to help the family. You may find it at https://www.gofundme.com/donations-for-the-farynas

If You Don’t Have To Go Out Today…Stay Home!

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Jan 042018

Today’s wintry weather is a blessing for children (No School!) and a burden for some parents (No School!)

But as the Winter Storm Brody moves across the state, there already have been some accidents reported (I-84 and a spun out car into a utility pole on a road in Bridgeport.)

The wind is whipping outside my window, so to me, that’s a warning of lower visibility out there and a very good possibility for tree limbs or branches to come down.

We’ve known this storm was coming for several days now, so there’s really no excuse not to have the basics you need to shelter in place for a couple of days if necessary.

If you have a dog, for goodness sake don’t leave him/her outside for more than a couple of minutes. Extreme temperatures, like the sub-zero digits we’re expecting during the next three days could cause serious health issues for your four-legged friend, including, but not limited to, frostbite on their sensitive feet, nose, and ears.

Several short-haired “outdoor” dogs have been found frozen to death across the country, including CT, this week. If you don’t care about the suffering your pet will endure, then consider the animal cruelty charges you’ll face.

At one point this week, I forgot to keep the water dripping in my kitchen sink and both the hot and cold pipes froze. Now I have a furnace (Thank God!) and I still keep the drip going because that’s a problem I just can’t deal with right now!

There is so much to remember to protect yourself, pets and property this winter. Just be diligent. If you use space heaters, like I did for the past year, remember to keep ALL clutter and any flammable items far away from them. Rule of thumb, plug the heater directly into the wall outlet, not an extension cord or power strip, and have about three feet of empty space around it to prevent possible overheating or fire.

Orange Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) reminds homeowners who have a fire hydrant near their property, that it is important to clear the snow from around it. in the event of a fire the Orange Volunteer Fire Department will need access to one as quickly as possible.




Protect Yourself: The Flu Is Widespread In CT, Wash Your Hands

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Dec 212017


According to the CDC, the Flu is widespread in the state of CT, and everyone, from children to the elderly should do what they can to protect themselves from getting the virus.

The best thing you can remember is to wash your hands! Remind children NOT to pick their noses and keep their hands away from their eyes, mouth and nose. This goes for adults, too. IF your nose is dry, carry some sort of saline spray to quickly make yourself more comfortable. Carry a package of tissues and some sort of soapless hand cleaner to use after you’ve touched some of the dirtiest objects that you come into contact with every — gas pump handles, atm machine buttons, cash from a store, toilet handles and other objects in public bathrooms.

Also, be aware that the flu is a virus not a bacteria.

The following information was taken from a blog by Communicable Disease Investigator Lisa A. Mack MS, MPH.

“Wash Your Hands! Fast forward to 2015 and we still advise Wash Your Hands. It’s simple. It’s basic. It’s minimal. Yet people still skip this step. We also advise if you are sick to please stay home. It is not productive if you come to work sick and get half the staff sick so they have to stay home. Don’t try to be a hero. Just use some common sense. Sneeze and cough into your sleeve. Use hand sanitizer after washing your hands or if there is no access to soap and water.”

“Despite your best efforts, you got the flu. What now? As soon as you feel symptoms take yourself over to the doctors and get some anti-virals, like Tamiflu. These are not antibiotics. You will need to start them within the first 48 hours of symptoms. While it is not a cure, it will help to lessen the severity and length of the illness. Vaccinate, Prevent, Mitigate.”

Severe Weather Alert Issued

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Dec 102017

The National Weather Service has issued a severe weather alert through tomorrow morning.
Snow has melted and is expected to refreeze tonight across the tri-state area. This will cause slippery conditions on untreated surfaces tonight into Monday morning.
A warning is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent or likely.
A watch is used when the risk of a hazardous weather or hydrologic event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location or timing is still uncertain.
An advisory is issued when a hazardous weather or hydrologic event is occurring, imminent or likely.

Liberty Plaza Fire Could Have Been Catastrophic

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Dec 062017

A fire broke out at the Liberty Plaza, 501 Boston Post Road, Orange this morning around 10:35 a.m.

One lane of the Boston Post Road was closed to traffic and store owners and employees in the plaza were unable to leave due to the charged fire hoses that blocked the entrance.

The long, L-shaped plaza is built with fire breaks between stores, but it has a shared roof and when a fire breaks out, as it did in a ceramic store several years ago, the smoke can spread quickly affecting several businesses.

Orange responded quickly to this call and requested Woodbridge’s assistance. They also asked for the RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) from Milford Fire to come to the scene. — RIT is a designated crew that will serve as a stand-by rescue team for personnel and be available for the immediate search and rescue of any missing, trapped, injured or unaccounted for firefighter(s). 

Store owners up and down the plaza stood in the parking lot and in their doorways watching as firefighters vented the building.

Paula’s Wig Shop, a longtime Orange business seemed to have sustained the most damage. The owner stood in shock in the parking lot, comforted by a young man, until the scene was cleared and Fire Marshal Tim Smith let her inside to see what was left of her livelihood.

So, what’s the good news? The one store, (just about 4 storefronts from the source) the Gun Shop, was the first in the row that wasn’t really affected. Employees were going in and out to see what was going on throughout the ordeal. A fire in that location could have been absolutely catastrophic.

Luckily, no one was hurt this morning.

Orange Live will update this story with the official report once we’ve spoken to authorities.





Notes In A Nutshell: Plan and Zoning Commission Meeting

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Dec 052017

The Orange Town Plan and Zoning Commission Meeting took place at Town Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

Following are notes from that meeting:

1. SITE PLAN APPLICATION. Submitted by property owner Bull Hill Lane Associates. For property known as 260 Bull Hill Lane. (the former Builder’s Square) To create an “Urban Air” Commercial Amusement Center with activities including trampolines, bowling, electric go karts, Laser tag, and rope lines.

The business would employ about 75 people and activities would be supervised, as the participants are expected to be children ages 5-15.

The Commission expressed concerns with the condition of the parking lot, landscaping issues, signage, and lighting.

The applicant agreed to patch and stripe the parking lot and to submit a landscaping plan by the Jan. 2 TPZ meeting.

The application goes before the Police Commission on Monday, Dec. 11.

The discussion will continue at Jan. 2 meeting.
2. Review of the Minutes from the October 23, 2017, Special Meeting and the November 8, 2017, Meeting.

3. Old Business.

4. New Business.

5. Report of the Zoning Enforcement Officer.


6. *PETITION TO AMEND THE ORANGE ZONING REGULATIONS. Submitted for Senior Living Advisors, LLC for property owner Indian River Road LLC. To amend and edit Section 383-14 regarding the definition of Elderly
Assisted Living Residential Facility. To amend Section 383-14 to add a definition for Dwelling Unit, Senior Independent Living. To Amend the Orange Zoning Regulations to create a Senior Mixed Use District.

The well thought out proposal is in keeping with the plan of conservation and development and is an appropriate area for such a development but opens the door for residential developers to also come in and request zone changes in “light industrial 2” areas.

Resident George Findley (the same G.F. who vehemently opposed Stew Leonard’s) to speak against the proposal.

7. *PETITION TO AMEND THE ORANGE ZONING MAP. Submitted for Senior Living Advisors, LLC for property owner Indian River Road LLC. To amend the Orange Zoning Map to change property known as 231 Indian River Road – Lot 2 from Light Industrial LI-2 to Senior Mixed Use District.

8. PETITION TO AMEND THE ORANGE PLAN OF CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT – Upon the initiative of the Orange Town Plan and Zoning Commission. To amend the Orange Plan of Conservation and Development
regarding Transit Oriented Development in the Town of Orange. (The Public hearing on this matter was closed at the November 21, 2017, Meeting.)

9. PETITION TO AMEND THE ORANGE ZONING REGULATIONS – Submitted upon the initiative of the Orange Town Plan & Zoning Commission. To amend Article XXIV – Transit Oriented Development District of the Orange
Zoning Regulations. (The Public hearing on this matter was closed at the November 21, 2017, Meeting.)

Come To The BEST Bake Sale On Earth Today

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Dec 032017

How Cute!

It’s almost time for the very best annual bake sale you will ever experience.

The Orange Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary will host its Christmas Bake Sale at Treat Farm, 361 Old Tavern Road, on Sunday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For years we’ve been praising the baking ability of the Auxiliary women and the delightfully inventive treats they come up with for their guests.

Goodies will include pies, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, and fudge, and we can’t wait to see what else they’ve come up with this year. Hot chocolate and hot cider also will be available for sale.

All proceeds benefit the Orange Volunteer Fire Department.

Then head out to the Holiday Festival in the center of town.

Pix And Video From The Orange Inauguration

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Nov 182017

On Friday, Nov. 17, the town of Orange hosted its Inauguration Ceremony for all newly elected officials.

Although some of them could not attend, a majority of these fine folks were in attendance to be sworn-in. State Rep. Themis Klarides administered the oath of office.

Now going into his seventh term as First Selectman, James Zeoli gave a nice speech, praising his fellow public servants and giving a nod to his former challenger Margaret Novicki for her hard work during the campaign.

Here is a VIDEO of that speech – For some reason, the 18-minute video cut off after 5 minutes… I will work on fixing that.



Get Ready For Santa’s Helper 2017

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Nov 162017

A message from Elf Mama:

Each year, every one of the Orange Fire Association’s 6 Santa’s Helper Teams of Santa, Elves and firefighter helpers are excited and honored to visit and deliver gifts, share in some fun, take photos and help make lasting memories and traditions for every family.  Children and adults alike look forward with great anticipation to seeing the fire trucks with lights and sirens coming down their street to their front door, with Santa leading the way!  His truck full of gifts, his helpers and Elves visiting with each family. 

This year, for everyone’s convenience, the Santa visits are on a Saturday (instead of Sunday) again — so mark your calendars for December 16.


Drop off the gifts that you would like Santa and his team to deliver back to your loved ones, on the designated drop-off day, sign-up and we will do the rest.


GIFT DROP OFF DAY IS SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2017, 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. at Fire Station #2, 355 Boston Post Road (Across from T.G.I. Friday’s).  We ask that the general public arrive no earlier than 30 minutes prior to the 12:00 start time.  You will have a much shorter wait in line by following these new guidelines.

GIFT RULES AND INFORMATION:  There is a small fee of $18.00 per gift/per household.  Each gift must be INDIVIDUALLY wrapped in your favorite holiday paper with an over-wrap of plain brown paper.  The name and address of the recipient must be clearly printed on the outside of each gift.  PLEASE try not to make the gift too large or too heavy, Santa appreciates that. 

We have a total of 170 delivery spots/visits available.  We encourage you to try to have all the gifts for your delivery stop with you on Gift Drop-Off day.  (For Families with a large party with many gifts, please email Elf Mama at ofdsantashelper@aol.com for special instructions.

Parking for Drop-Off day is in the rear of the Fire Station.  Firefighters will be there to assist you.  The Drop-Off line is located INSIDE the Fire Station. Use the rear door marked ENTER.

ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2017 Santa on his fire truck with his Elf and firefighter helpers will arrive at your home to deliver the gifts to your loved ones and spend a few moments with your family and friends for photos and fun! 

If you have any questions, you can email Elf Mama at ofdsantashelper@aol.com, she will be happy to assist you via email.  Please do not call the Fire Stations as it’s a Volunteer Fire Department and there will not be anyone there to assist you with Santa’s Helper information.  Visit www.orangevfd.com and click on the Santa’s Helper page for additional information and to see some fun pictures of what we do!

*E-mailing Santa’s Helper does not guarantee you a spot on the delivery route.  Sign-up is on Gift Drop-Off Day and is on a first come-first serve basis.*


Orange Police: Fatal Car Accident

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Nov 102017

The following is a statement from Town of Orange Police Department Chief Robert Gagne:
First and foremost, the thoughts and prayers of the entire Orange Police Department are with the family of Philip Hunt, who unfortunately succumbed to his injuries as a result of the crash in West Haven.
Orange Police were called to the scene of a motor vehicle crash at Route 34 and Route 152 (in Orange) in which a light-colored minivan struck another vehicle from behind, then fled the scene, eastbound, on Route 34 without stopping.
Shortly thereafter, Orange Police observed a vehicle matching the description of the offending vehicle traveling southbound on Dogwood Road near New Haven Avenue. The vehicle had front-end damage and was being operated in an erratic manner. The vehicle initially slowed to a stop (or near-stop) for police on Dogwood Road near Route One, but then continued east on Route One, and then south on Meloy Road into West Haven, prior to crashing on Meloy Road.
Orange police were cooperative with the West Haven Haven Police Department at the scene of the crash. Orange Police are cooperating fully with the Connecticut State Police, who are investigating this incident. The original accident at Route 34 152 and its connection to the West Haven crash remains under investigation.
The Orange Police Department defers any further comment to the Connecticut State Police Public Information Office.