Blaze causes serious damage at Candlewood condos
A fire did significant damage recently at the Candlewood condominiums at 466 Danbury Road (Route 7 South) in New Milford.
Mutual firefighter and other emergency aid from Brookfield, Bridgewater, Washington and several other fire companies responded Aug. 21 to the scene.
Traffic along Route 7 was stopped for hours as firefighters fought to control the blaze.
At least one resident was transported to Danbury Hospital due to smoke inhalation.
Angelo Appi said it was "karma" that he drove by the condos and saw smoke.
"There was an older woman going into the end condo," Appi said. "She was covered with soot. She was trying to save her dog."
Appi, 47, said he ran from his truck and pulled the woman back from her doorway. Then he got on his stomach and crawled into the unit to rescue the dog.
"The smoke was so thick. It was hard to breath or see, but I saw a fire in the living room by the sliding glass doors," Appi said. "The smoke and heat was too much. I had to leave without the dog."
The woman, Appi knew only as "Cathy," was transported to Danbury Hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.
Neighbors said she had repeatedly gone back in for her dog.
By eyewitness reports, the fire broke out just after 10 a.m.
It destroyed much of an eight-unit building, starting on the ground level and rising to the condos on the second floor and into the attic, according to Deputy Chief Todd Russell of Water Witch Hose Co. No. 2.
All of the condos' occupants were evacuated.
"On our arrival, the building was fully involved in flames and heavy black smoke," Russell said. "Every unit suffered some fire damage."
" By the time we arrived, the fire was halfway through the structure," he added. "I started calling for every mutual aid company I could."
Two aerial ladder trucks were used to fight the flames through the collapsed roof. Eight fire companies responded.
Russell said the heat and humidity and distance to fire hydrants made fighting the blaze difficult. Hoses were run from the Agway building about a quarter-mile away, along the the northbound side of the four-lane highway.
Robin Buchanan, a house cleaner who was in another building, said she smelled the smoke and ran outside.
"In the corner of that first unit there was this small patch of smoke, then a line of fire ran up the side of the building and burst into flames on the roof," Buchanan said. "It happened so fast."
Paula Pugliese and her son and daughter were at home in a neighboring unit.
"My daughter said she smelled smoke," Pugliese said. "It was about 10 a.m. We went outside and looked. The whole roof was on fire with the flames coming our way. The firefighters came for us."
Pugliese said it was "deja vu" for her. Their house along Pickett District Road had burned in May.
She and her family had moved to Candlewood condos two weeks before this fire.
The New Milford fire marshal and deputy marshal were investigating the fire.