Neighbor heard ‘popping sound’ in Shelton house fire; Home destroyed, dog dies

The efforts of Shelton firefighters kept a blaze that badly damaged an Indian Well Road home from jumping to the adjoining houses.

“We made a quick exterior attack and then were able to get inside,” said Nick Verdicchio, Shelton Fire Department spokesman. “We had it under control within 15 to 20 minutes.

“The [firefighters] did a fantastic job keeping it to that one building,” added Verdicchio, who was among those at the scene.

No occupants or firefighters were injured, but a dog inside the structure died. The house was unoccupied at the time and the dog was being kept inside a crate while the occupant was temporary gone, fire officials said.

The fire started from wood stove ashes put in a plastic container and placed up against the structure outdoors, said Fire Marshal James Tortora.

Densely-developed neighborhood

The house, which is considered destroyed, is at 143 Indian Well Road, which is part of The Maples residential community along the Housatonic River. The community is off Route 110, just south of the Indian Well State Park beach area.

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It’s an area of small lots, where homes are very close to each other — sometimes there’s only 8 to 10 feet between them. Indian Well Road is a narrow, dead-end street that runs along the riverfront.

Once mostly seasonal cottages, many of the structures at The Maples have been enlarged and turned into year-round homes.

Houses on both sides

The house at 143 Indian Well Road is a small cottage directly on the water. It has larger homes on both sides of it.

The two adjoining houses suffered minor scorching damage, especially to fencing that separates the lots, fire officials said. Some of the siding on at least one adjoining house was impacted as well.

“There was minor damage, such as melting to the fencing and siding, but no structural damage,” Verdicchio said of the two abutting homes.

Initial calls came in at 7:55 p.m.

The first call for assistance came in at 7:55 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 18. Verdicchio said some of the initial calls came from people on the Derby side, who saw the fire from Route 34.

Tortora said several hours after the home’s occupant had left, the ashes placed near the house ignited the blaze. “A neighbor heard a popping sound and saw the fire,” he said.

Crews from Echo House, Pine Rock Park and White Hills initially responded, with a call for assistance from Huntington firefighters following soon thereafter.

Verdicchio said about 25 firefighters from all four companies were at the scene.

Dig out fire hydrants

Verdicchio reminded people of the need for residents, when possible, to dig out fire hydrants near their homes.

This year’s constant snow has covered hydrants, which can cause delays in the ability of firefighters to access water during fires.

While firefighters are able to dig out some hydrants, it is helpful when residents and business owners are able to complete this task.

Editor’s Note: The fire-damaged house is at 143 Indian Well Road. It had been incorrectly identified as 145 Indian Well Road in the past; we regret the error and any confusion it may have caused.