Orange Volunteer Firefighters Respond To Early Morning House Fire

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May 052021

The Town’s Emergency 9-1-1 system received three 9-1-1 calls around 7:10 a.m. this morning (Wednesday, May 5) reporting that there was smoke coming from a vacant house at 753 Mapleview Drive.

The first Volunteer Officer on the scene confirmed a working structure fire.

According to Fire Marshal Jamie Vincent, the fire was seen coming from the wall adjacent to the front door of the home.

“While it’s still under investigation the area of origin was identified in the basement,” he said. The cause is yet to be determined.

Vincent said, “The firefighters on the scene did a fantastic job, putting a quick hit on the fire and knocking it down.”

The Best Memories Come From Special Moments

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Jul 222020

Throwback photo from the 90s. Peter Goodwin, his mother, Bette, Bert Galant, Baron, and Annie.

About 13 years ago, Annie Davis, known to many as “Elf Mama,” was working in the Fire Marshal’s office. I was working at the Amity Observer Newspaper back then.

Annie called me and asked if I could come to the office around 3:30 p.m. or so “And bring Baron,” she said.

Longtime residents and town workers may remember my golden retriever and best buddy, Baron von Saberwolfe. Annie loved him, as did a lot of town employees, firefighters, and police officers.

When Baron and I arrived, he made a bee-line to Tim Smith’s office then ran into the Deputy Fire Marshal’s office to find Annie.

Annie waved us into the fire inspector’s office where she was talking to three people I’d never seen before, then introduced me to the Goodwin family.

She explained that the family was donating animal air masks to the Orange Volunteer Fire Department for fire emergencies when a pet would need resuscitation or fresh air. She said that Baron was the perfect model for a photo to show how they would be used.

Now, Baron was a sweet, easy-going boy, and he was always willing to help in any way, but when it came to putting his whole snout into an enclosed cup, well, that was a different story.

I tried, Annie tried, and the Goodwin family members even attempted it, but the big guy wanted nothing to do with it.

UNTIL the light bulb went off above Annie’s head. She took the largest mask and brought it into the firehouse kitchen where she’d made some Chicken Picante for the guys.

When she came back, she handed the mask over and said, “Call Baron.”

When the mask was extended, Baron shoved his face all the way into the mask and I captured the moment on camera. (You can see Annie laughing in the background)

“What did you do?” we all asked.

“Picante sauce,” Annie said with a sly smile. “I put a spoonful of Picante sauce in the bottom of the mask, I knew he couldn’t resist it.”

I’m not sure how many times the masks have been used at fire scenes, but I just found this photo, and it brought back a flood of happy memories. Both Annie and Baron are gone now, but their memory lives on. And this thoughtful, generous gift from the Goodwin family helped our OVFD to save the lives of the most vulnerable family members.


Correction: The original version misidentified the generous donors as the Case family. My apologies for the error. 


Fire Causes Temporary Closure of Popular Italian Restaurant

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Mar 032020

The Olive Garden Restaurant on the Boston Post Road, Orange, will be closed for a while following a fire Tuesday evening (March 3).

The interior reportedly sustained some damage, and it will take some time to clean up before being approved to re-open.

From initial reports, no one was injured, and the cause may have been electrical in nature.

Breaking: Structure Fire On New Haven Ave. Sunday Night

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Dec 222019

Orange Volunteer Firefighters are enroute to 7 New Haven Avenue for a kitchen fire with heavy smoke.

The first tone went out around 7 52 p.m. followed by a second tone around 7:55 p.m.

The Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Department has been called to cover for Orange at the firehouse.

The Firefighters signed off from the scene around 8:30 p.m.

Although I could not make contact with the fire marshal or deputy fire marshal for details on this or last week’s house fires. It sounds like this one was a cooking mishap.


Volunteer Departments Battle Early Morning Orange House Fire

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Dec 182019

The Orange Volunteer Fire Department responded to a house fire at 612 Chestnut Ridge Road Wednesday morning at around 3:30 a.m.

When firefighters arrived, the house was fully involved and the sole occupant was outside in the backyard.

A live power line was down in the front yard, and crews had to wait for the UI to cut the power before they could begin their assault.

Below-freezing temperatures complicated the operation, as you can imagine, turning everything to ice.

But, they are trained for all kinds of situations and used these skills to put the fire out. Woodbridge and West Haven fire departments were called to assist.

Just one week before Christmas, the house reportedly is a total loss.


Annie Davis Fundraiser In Two Days (Friday, Nov. 8)

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Nov 062019

The Fundraiser in memory of Annie “Elf Mama” Davis is just two days away.

On Friday, Nov. 8, the Orange Ale House, 517 Boston Post Road, will open its “Big Room” up for this event from 5 to 9 p.m.

Online ticket sales are picking up. Advance sale price is $20, At The Door tickets are $25.

You can save a little bit of money by buying in advance HERE and use those savings for our VERY DIFFICULT “Guess how many candies are in the jar” contest, and getting raffle tickets for a chance on one of our wonderful donated prizes (10 for $5 or 25 for $10). We’re confident that we’ve got something of interest for everyone. We’ve got a whole team of Annie’s friends collecting them.

We’ve been told that some people are afraid to give their information online, so we will offer you this option. Send an e-mail to orangectlive01@gmail.com by 10 a.m. on Friday with the words “Tickets” in the subject line, and you will be put on the list of attendees for the $20 advance ticket price. 

We are hoping to fill the Ale House with those special families that shared the joy of Santa’s Helper over the years, as well as bringing Annie’s friends and co-workers together to share stories.

Skip Dinner at home and stop by the Ale House and enjoy their special fundraiser cuisine (included) or you CAN buy dinner for yourself and order from the regular menu.

We’re working hard to make this a memorable celebration. If residents, business owners, municipal offices, organizations, or any group would like to donate a raffle prize, or collect money and we will assemble an appropriate basket in your name, text Terri at 203-506-1747, and I will be happy to come and get it by Thursday, Nov. 7.

Contributors will be recognized at the event and on Orange Live.

Thank You in advance for remembering Annie.

Who Wants To Win A Pig Roast? Meat-O OVFD Fundraiser Tonight!

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Mar 092019

Meat-O is a NEW fundraiser hosted by the Orange Volunteer Fire Department Auxilary and will be held on Saturday, March 9 at the Orange Center Road firehouse at 6 p.m.  It is similar to bingo, but played with a hand of 3 playing cards, for prizes of gift certificates, baskets, meats and more! 

The big prize is a PIG ROAST! Pig and cooker are included in this great prize!

Hands are bought before each round for a price range of $1-10 depending on the value of the prize; multiple hands may be bought by each person. 

Advance seating price is $5 per person, $8 at the door.  Coffee and dessert will be provided, you can bring snacks. (No alcohol please)

You can email OVFDAuxilary@hotmail.com or call or text Vickie 203-915-4822

For more information about this fundraiser, and other upcoming events please visit https://www.facebook.com/OVFDAuxiliary/

Proceeds of fundraisers directly benefit the Orange Volunteer Fire Department

Santa’s Helper Is Set For Saturday, Dec. 15. Do You Want In?

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Nov 182018

Longtime Orange residents, can you believe it? Santa’s Helper is celebrating its 24th year of delivering gifts, smiles, and fun to hundreds of families in town.

Elf Mama was a young lass when she began organizing the popular fundraiser for the Orange Volunteer Fire Department back in 1994. Now, she’s a bit older (1,027 in Elf Years) and wiser (she’s seen it all, and dealt with it) and she’s still just as spry and enthusiastic about getting the elves and firefighter helpers together for the big day.

For the first time in 24 years, there are still a few slots open in which your family can share in the magic. Don’t let this rare opportunity pass you by. Send an e-mail to Elf Mama at ofdsantashelper@aol.com as soon as possible to be added to the list and to get directions for dropping off your gifts. DO NOT call the Fire Department about Santa’s Helper.

Santa is practicing his “Ho, Ho, Ho” and the elves and helpers are getting the fire trucks ready to go! Don’t make alternate plans for Saturday, Dec. 15, because Santa gets very sad when families aren’t home when he and the firefighters arrive. The start time for Santa’s Helper delivery day is 3 p.m.


A file photo from a previous Santa’s Helper visit. Little Cindy Lou Who is probably 13 years old now.

Elf Mama tells it like this — as many know, Santa’s Helper is a wonderful, exciting, fun and memorable fund-raising event with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting your Orange Volunteer Fire Department for the purchase of firefighting and rescue equipment.

“Each year, every one of our 6 Santa’s Helper Teams of Santa, Elves and firefighter helpers are excited 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 excited 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 coming in to visit with each family,” said Elf Mama.


GIFT RULES AND INFORMATION:  There is a small fee of $19.00 per gift/per household.  Each gift must be INDIVIDUALLY wrapped in your favorite holiday paper with an overwrap of plain brown paper.  The name and delivery 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 do have a limit of 170 delivery spots/visits available.  We encourage you to try to have all the gifts for your visit with you on Gift Drop-Off day. (For families with a large party and many gifts, please e-mail Anne at ofdsantashelper@aol.com for special instructions. If there will be multiple families having their visit at one specific address, please let the Elf helpers know that upon sign-up on drop-off day.

Delivery Day

ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2018, SANTA on his firetruck 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, e-mail Anne at ofdsantashelper@aol.com she will be happy to help you via e-mail.  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.

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


If you’ve never participated in Santa’s Helper, this is a great time to start a new tradition in your family, and you will be helping the all-volunteer fire department at the same time. Don’t miss out!

Below, a collage of one of the Santa’s Helper families in Orange that grew up with the program. The adults were children two decades ago, and the children are theirs. 

Car Fire on Great Oak

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Apr 062018

The Orange Volunteer Fire Department responded to a report of a car fire on Great Oak Road around 3:30 p.m. this afternoon.

A resident shot this photo as she passed the scene.

Update: TGI Fridays Damaged But Not A Total Loss

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Oct 222017

The fire that forced the evacuation of customers and staff at TGI Fridays on Saturday night is being blamed on equipment failure, specifically an exhaust hood in the kitchen, according to Fire Marshal Tim Smith.

Smith broke the evening’s event down like this:

TGI Fridays Restaurant has a drop ceiling and is required by law to have a sprinkler system.

Around 7:45 p.m. on Oct. 21 while bar customers were watching the Major League baseball games and others were having a meal in the dining room an alarm went off, alerting the Orange Volunteer Fire Department of a problem.

The manager and staff immediately got busy and made sure everyone was safely evacuated from the building.

The firefighters assembled at their respective firehouses and arrived at the restaurant within about 6 minutes.

The fire was contained to the drop ceiling and roof portion of the building and a sprinkler head activated, holding the fire in check.

The flames began to burn a section of the roof above the kitchen and firefighters had to cut a hole in the roof to get access to and extinguish the fire.

Restaurant Employees sat on the guardrail near the Boston Post Road and First Selectman Jim Zeoli viewed the scene while speaking to residents and crew members near Station 2.

Orange and Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Departments and West Haven’s West Shore had firefighters and equipment at the fire. Milford FD provided coverage for the town until the OVFD cleared the scene.

Smith said the building sustained smoke and water damage, but there was no fire within the main floor of the restaurant. “Just the kitchen to the roof, it’s damaged but not a total loss,” Smith said.

With his investigation completed, Smith turned the building over to the restaurant owners so they can begin their renovations.

TGI Fridays will be closed for a while, but at this point, no one can say just how long.