Portions of a 22-24 South St. house in Collinsville were heavily damaged by fire Friday morning.
The owner and several neighbors reported the fire, according to radio reports. The call came in at 10:05 a.m. and the fire was "knocked down" by 11:15, the fire chief said.
Although initial radio reports indicated a possible injury, the building's owner, George Jacobs, said, "Everyone's okay. No one got hurt." Officials later said one occupant complained of minor injuries but was not transported to the hospital.
Jacobs, who lives on the first floor, said the fire started on the second floor of the two-family structure. Four people and three dogs got out of the house safely, Jacobs said. He later said neighbors and even a stranger stopped by and offered shelter, clothing and support.
Richard F. Hutchings, chief of the Canton Volunteer Fire and EMS Department, said a second floor deck and exterior walls of a rear corner of the house were "fully involved" when firefighters arrived.
Due to the "balloon construction of the older home, which contains no fire stops between floors, the fire got into the walls and extended into the attic,” Hutchings said.
The attic and parts of the second floor sustained heavy fire, smoke and water damage, with the first floor primarily suffering some water damage, the chief said.
Despite the heavy fire, Hutchings said the basic structure of the home appeared sound. The occupants certainly will not be staying there tonight, he added.
Firefighters from Canton initially responded to the scene and quickly called for the regional task force, which consists of apparatus and firefighters from Avon, Simsbury, East Farmington, Tunxis Hose and Lost Acres (Granby). About 30 firefighters helped at the scene, Hutchings said.
Hutchings requested engine crews from Avon and Lost Acres provide back up for the rest of town. A New Hartford ambulance crew was also on stand by and firefighters from Burlington also assisted at the scene.
Hutchings said the task force began after Sept. 11, 2001, when Connecticut, like most states, initiated them.
Although designed for large catastrophes like 9-11, the task forces, such as the local group, Task Force 54, became a great tool for local incidents, he said. Officials representing each department that is part of the task force got together and decided what equipment each would send in an emergency. This way, Hutchings said he knows exactly what's coming to the scene and it can be done activated with one call from dispatch.
In addition to regional apparatus in Canton the following were on scene:
- Engine 4
- Ladder 2
- Rescue 9
- Car 10 (Ambulance)
- Engine 6
- Tanker 7
The tanker provided a critical backup water source but did not end up being needed for this fire, Hutchings said.
"Fortunately there was a hydrant in the area, which makes the operation much easier," Hutchings said.
The fire and its cause remain under investigation, Fire Marshal Adam B. Libros said.
Libros said firefighters did a good job of containing the blaze.