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

9:30 p.m. Firefighters Still On Scene Of Mulch Fire

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Apr 242014

IMG_2343There was a Fire Weather Watch in effect today, and boy, did the Orange Volunteer Fire Department find out just how spot on that warning was.

At 10:54 a.m. they were called to Edison Road for a mulch fire at the Cuzzocreo Property where there are mountains of wood chips, logs, brush and other flammable natural materials on site.

It seems that the Fire Department responds there at least once every few days, always the same problem.

A few hours later at 3:18 pm the firefighters were returning to the Cuzzocreo property for a mulch fire with heavy smoke that was pouring across I-95. State Police were on the thruway slowing traffic down so there wouldn’t be any accidents.

Fire Marshal Tim Smith said, “Heavy winds (part of the Fire Weather Watch) helped fuel the fire. The Connecticut State DEEP Wildland Crew arrived a few hours later and made their way through the woods to the hotspot where the fire had jumped into a forested area.”

One of these state firefighters was overheard telling his colleagues that he’d done a walk through and that a stream deep in the woods could help keep the fire from spreading too far (into the former Stew Leonard’s property).

Woodbridge, West Shore, Milford, Derby and Bethany all provided mutual aid.

Asst. Fire Chief Vaughan Dumas said firefighters were having a problem getting water to the site, so they called the Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Department for assistance. “They have a tanker truck program and brought three tankers down her to provide us with water,” Dumas said.

Luckily, there were three fire hydrants at the top of the hill near Aurora Products and after the water shuttles were done, firefighters were able to utilize the hydrants.

The Orange fire officers kept in touch with the water company, which boosted the water pressure when requested and when firefighters were leaving the scene the water pressure was brought down to normal.

NOTE: This fire was a major event, which took a lot of manpower and had some residents who visited the site to watch asking why the grinding operation isn’t shut down. That is a question for the Town Plan and Zoning Commission. The business has been sited for violations in the past, but the state DEEP said the company has done everything its been asked to do and they are satisfied that the business is totally in compliance.  After seeing the property, one must wonder if everything there is allowed by our very strict TPZC. The Commission hasn’t discussed it in a while. Perhaps it’s time for another visit.