What caused the Shelton house fire? Investigators think they know

A clothes dryer in the basement is being eyed as the possible cause of the Thursday morning fire at an Old Stratford Road home in Shelton.

“The electrical part of the dryer may have malfunctioned,” said Fire Marshal James Tortora, who has spent time inside 83 Old Stratford Road investing the cause of the fire.
(Story continues below)
Click below to see photos of the fire response:
Click below to read more about the fire:
Tortora said clothes were inside the dryer when the fire started, and in the coming days investigators will be looking more closely at the appliance and its electrical parts.

The damaged dryer remains inside the home’s basement. Tortora expects to have more certainty on the fire’s cause by early next week.

Basement contents destroyed

The fire led to extensive damage in most of the basement. Tortora said one room in the basement is “gutted,” and clothes and other contents being kept in the basement were destroyed.

The upstairs living area suffered smoke and water damage — primarily on the first floor.

Firefighters were able to stop the blaze from spreading above the basement. Tortora said the fire was nearing the kitchen area when firefighters’ actions got it under control.

No occupants or firefighters were hurt in the fire. An occupant was able to get out and call 9-1-1 for assistance.

Three Shelton fire companies at scene

The single-family, two-story home is located on a small hill above Old Stratford Road, not too far from the Route 8 highway. It is a wood-frame Cape in a heavily-wooded area.

Members of three Shelton volunteer fire companies — Echo Hose, Huntington and Pine Rock Park — responded at about 10:30 a.m. on March 5, with multiple fire trucks on scene. A Stratford company also provided assistance, with the location very close to the Stratford border.

A section of Old Stratford Road was closed to traffic for awhile due to the blaze. Old Stratford Road turns into Warner Hill Road in Stratford.

‘Combustible items’

The home appeared to be filled with many items, especially in the basement. Tortora said this can present challenges for firefighters, because there’s “no room to get in there” and move around.

“The more combustible items that are down there, the more fuel for the fire,” he said.

Tortora said it is recommended that people not store too many items in rooms, including in their basements, because it creates fire safety issues.