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Woodworking Shed Heavily Damaged In Accidental Blaze

Published: March 24, 2017

An accidental fire caused heavy damage to a shed at a residential property on Poplar Drive in the Riverside neighborhood, near Lake Zoar, on the night of Thursday, March 23, officials said.

Fire Marshal Rich Frampton said March 24 that heat from a fire within a woodstove-based heating system for the shed caused the fire to start at the shed’s rear exterior. There were no injuries in the blaze. A Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps crew responded to the incident and stood by in the event of problems.

All five local volunteer fire companies were activated for the fire at the Agius property at 24 Poplar Drive. Poplar Drive is a dead-end street that extends from Alpine Drive.

Two people were in the nearby house on the property at the time of the fire. Neither that house, nor any other structures, in the densely built neighborhood were damaged by the blaze, officials said. The fire was first reported at by neighbors in the area at 9:51 pm.

Mr Frampton estimated that the fire caused at least $25,000 worth of damage to the insured property. The shed, which is roughly 330 square feet, was used by Mr Agius for his woodworking hobby. The structure had many contents, including various power tools used in woodworking.

Mr Frampton said that the shed had last been occupied about 5:30 pm, when a fire was burning in the wood stove to heat the structure.

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company Chief Bill Halstead said that firefighters used about 3,300 gallons of water from fire tankers to extinguish the blaze. About 20 firefighters went to the scene, he said. “They knocked [the fire] down pretty quick,” he said.

Noting the narrowness of roads in the area, Chief Halstead said, “It was very tight,” in terms of getting fire trucks to the scene.

The incident required firefighters to perform much “overhaul” work following the blaze due to the many items that had been inside the shed when it caught fire, he said.

A town worker responded to the area to place sand on pavement in the area where the water used for fire fighting had drained and was freezing.

Firefighters remained at the scene until about 12:30 am, and were listed as being “back in service” and ready to respond to other calls at 1:20 am, Chief Halstead said.

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