Windsor fire proves challenging to crews

Wednesday June 13, 2012

WINDSOR -- Crews on Tuesday finally left the scene of a unique structure fire on Shaw Road that began Mon day afternoon and required the entire roof's removal in order to squelch the flames.

The fire at 53 Shaw Road was contained by 11:30 p.m. on Monday after dozens of firefighters spent more than seven hours reining in the flames emanating from the 150-year-old stone house. But crews had to return by 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday to spend several more hours putting out the remnants of the fire.

The homeowner, Patricia Boyn ton, was at the scene when the fire started but was uninjured. She was given financial assistance from the Red Cross and is staying with family, ac cording to Fire Chief Michael Tirrell.

Boynton's three cats also made it out, though one wasn't found until the fire was brought under control. The cat managed to survive inside the house for several hours, and Tirrell said that other than being "wet and scared," it was OK.

The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time, but foul play is not suspected. It's believed the fire started in a wooden shed attached to the house and spread to an attached kitchen. Because the rest of the house was made of stone, and the fire had spread to the attic, Tirrell said, an excavator had to be brought in to remove the roof of the single-family home.

"It just trapped all the heat inside the main structure, because it's stone," said Tirrell. "It's a house you would never expect to come up against."

Firefighters relied on a draft hydrant system from a quarter-acre pond along Route 9, with tanker shuttles used to bring water to the scene. The water level in the pond dropped by several feet as crews pumped out enough to extinguish the fire, according to Tirrell.

"We've had other fires, single-room fires, which we went and put out fairly quickly," said Tirrell. "This was just one that was very difficult right from the beginning."

Tirrell said the shed was destroyed, and the kitchen received considerable damage, but the main house remains intact. Inspectors will have to determine if the building can be salvaged, he said, but much of furniture on the first floor was left with minimal damage.

All told, 11 departments assisted at the scene or covering stations, while 62 firefighters were on hand to help douse the flames. Tirrell said his department alone wouldn't have been able to deal with the fire, and he thanked the other departments for their help.

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