REDDING -- Fire leveled a century-old Mountain Road farmhouse Monday, sending the occupants scrambling into the early morning darkness and taking the lives of seven dogs.

Three members of the Ammirata family escaped the blaze, which broke out about 2 a.m., West Redding Fire Chief Joseph Miceli said.

Firefighters from 11 area departments battled the raging blaze, but when the sun rose Monday morning only the chimney of the home at 145 Mountain Road remained standing.


"It was fully involved," Miceli said. "We had zero chance of saving the structure."

Firefighters also had to cope with hazards ranging from power lines to propane tanks as they attempted to bring the flames under control.


"There were a number of safety issues," Miceli said.

The family, Michael and
Margaret Ammirata and their son, Michael, had lived in the house for more than 25 years, according to neighbor Joe Brandt , who said he was awakened by sirens as fire engines screamed past his house in the middle of the night.

But because the Ammirata house is nearly a half-mile away, Brandt said he didn't know where the emergency vehicles were headed until he drove past the scene Monday morning.


The Ammiratas escaped the flames before firefighters arrived and suffered minor injuries, the chief said.

They were relocated to a Danbury hotel by American Red Cross volunteers, but they couldn't be reached Monday evening.

Miceli said the dogs that died were being bred by the homeowners.

About 60 firefighters from all three Redding companies responded to the blaze, along with Ridgefield career and volunteer firefighters, and volunteers from companies in Newtown, Bethel, Danbury, Wilton and Weston.


It took several hours to bring the flames under control, and the road remained closed through much of the day.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Contact John Pirro

at jpirro@newstimes.com

or at (203) 731-3342.