Photo Story: Blaze Rips Through Conn. Mansion

On July 3, while people were gearing up for the long holiday weekend, Middlebury firefighters were dispatched to 725 Break Neck Hill Rd for a reported structure fire.

Upon arrival FD-2 had a two-story residential structure with smoke showing from the front and rear second floor of the 13,000-square-foot home.

Middlebury Engines 1, 3, 4, 6, Truck 1 and Squad 1 responded to the scene. Mutual aid was called in from Watertown for station coverage and manpower .

Firefighters stretched several lines and did an interior attack on the fire but had a difficult time because the fire was deep seated and in some voids in the attic. Several minutes later the fire started to grow in intensity and shot though the roof.

Additional mutual aid was requested, including Waterbury Engine 8 and Truck 1, and tankers from Woodbury and Southbury.

The fire spread quickly through the house and several portable ponds were set up and a tanker task force was activated. It brought in tankers from more than a dozen towns and the fill site was established at Middlebury Fire Headquarters and at town hall. A manpower task force and a strike team was requested and later on a second tanker task force was activated.

Firefighters used Middlebury Truck 1 and Waterbury Truck 1 as master streams to fight the blaze.

The fire raged for several hours later and crews were ordered to take cover as a severe thunderstorm with frequent lightning passed.

While returning from the scene, Bantam Engine 35 pulled to the shoulder of the road to let a car pass by and the soft ground pulled the engine down an embankment. The firefighters, who had their seatbelts on, escaped injury.

The family escaped with their pets with no injuries reported. 

The fire was under control by midnight and firefighters remained on scene throughout the night and into the morning of July 4th hitting hot spots and overhauling.

The $5.3 million dollar home was a total loss and officials determined the fire was caused by polyurethane foam which being applied in the attic by a work crew.