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NOTE (Tuesday, June 20, 2017): This story has been updated to reflect the proper piece of Dodgingtown apparatus that went into the scene Saturday afternoon.
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The owners of a single-family dwelling on Abbotts Hill Road lost an apartment over the home’s garage Saturday afternoon, but the remainder of the 1.75-story home was spared significant damage following a fire.
Dodgingtown Fire Chief Steve Murphy said on Monday, June 19, that it was a neighbor who discovered the fire mid-Saturday afternoon during conditions that alternated between overcast and showers.
“The neighbor on a nicer day would not have been home, because they have a boat,” said Chief Murphy, who is also the deputy fire marshal for the Town of Newtown. “She smelled smoke, and went looking for it, and then found it.”
All five of Newtown’s fire companies were dispatched around 2:45 pm June 17 for the possible structure fire. Following protocol, a Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps crew was also sent to the scene.
Firefighters were told that heavy smoke and flames were showing from one part of the house as they were approaching the scene. Approximately 40 firefighters responded, Chief Murphy believes.
According to online town records, the owner of the 4.1-acre property is George Hill, Jr. The 1978 Cape-style home at 13 Abbotts Hill Road is set approximately 450 feet from the road, down a steep incline.
The building has an apartment over the garage, with a separate entrance into the apartment.
No one was home at the time of the fire.
Dodgingtown’s rescue engine went right to the house; Hook & Ladder’s ladder truck was staged about 100 yards into the driveway. Other apparatus staged on the roadway itself.
Bethel Fire sent a crew to the scene. Southbury Fire sent a standby crew to Sandy Hook’s main station.
Firefighters were able to put the fire out quickly. They used between 300 and 400 gallons of water, Chief Murphy said.
Chief Murphy said on Monday that the fire started “somewhere in the kitchen,” but that the investigation was still underway as of that morning.
There were no injuries to firefighters. A small dog was killed in the incident, “probably from smoke,” Chief Murphy said. “He wasn’t burned.”
The apartment is currently uninhabitable, according to the fire chief. JP Maguire, the fire damage restoration service, was called in to provide initial coverage to the affected area. Chief Murphy estimates the fire caused $40,000 in damages to the apartment.
“The rest of the house,” Chief Murphy said, “is fine.”
All firefighters had cleared from the scene by around 4:30 Saturday, he said.