Smoke Alarm Alerts Connecticut Man to Raging House Fire

Oxford fire investigators were still trying Sunday to figure out what caused a house fire early Saturday, NBC 30's Amy Parmenter reported.

An Oxford man barely made it out of the burning home.

He escaped with little more than minor burns, thanks in part to a smoke detector that woke him up, police told Parmenter.

Investigators spent Saturday trying to figure out what sparked the blaze.

It was shortly before 3 a.m. when neighbors said they were awakened as firefighters battled a blaze at the home at No. 2 Old State Road.

As soon as I saw the smoke I knew it was a fire in the house across the street. I was just hoping everyone made it out okay, said one neighbor.

Fortunately, fire officials said, there were working smoke detectors that alerted the only person there at the time, a 40-year-old man.

On arrival we had a fully involved house with one occupant who sustained minor burns, a firefighter told Parmenter.

It took the firefighters about an hour to control the blaze because of the construction of the home, which had been subdivided into two apartments, and because of the cold weather, Parmenter said.

Oxford Fire Chief Scott Pelletier said the house "used to be a little beach house. Then it was added on to to make two apartments, which have several little comparments inside. It makes like a big maze inside. So it made it difficult for the firemen to get in and get to the fire. They had to breach some walls [to do so]."

She said neighbors watched with fascination as firefighters worked into the night

They were in there for about 20 minutes, and when they opened up the roof to vent, we were able to see flames, said a neighbor.

The burned man was treated and released at a local hospital. Both he and his girlfriend are now homeless. The Red Cross arrived at the scene with clothing and will provide them with temporary shelter.

The state fire marshall's office and local fire investigators were still on the scene hours after the initial cause.

They told Parmenter it's unlikely they'll determine an official cause before Sunday.

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