NAUGATUCK -- Investigators are working to determine the cause of a fire that burned down a vacant single-family house off of Hunters Mountain Road early Sunday morning.
The Naugatuck Fire Department received a 911 call from someone at 592 Horton Hill Road. A man said he saw flames and smoke shooting high above a tree line behind his property. When firefighters arrived, they realized the flames were actually coming from a secluded piece of property on the opposite side of Naugatuck at 100 Old Highway Road, which is 2.5 miles away, as the crow flies, from 592 Horton Hill Road; it’s a 4.5-mile drive.
“By the time we got there, the garage and the house were both fully involved and the building had collapsed; only one wall was standing,” Fire Chief Ken Hanks said.
Nobody was injured. It took firefighters from two towns – a career department in Naugatuck and volunteers from Oxford – a few hours to completely douse the flames. Naugatuck Street Department employees also were called in to dump sand and salt on icy roads.
The house is located on a very narrow, windy road with no fire hydrants. Firefighters tapped into a hydrant at the corner of Hunters Mountain Road and Old Highway and continuously filled up two, 3,000-gallon tanker trucks. Firefighters prevented the the flames from spread to nearby woods in the state forest property.
Volunteer firefighters from Bethany and Beacon Falls were called to standby at Naugatuck headquarters at 41 Maple St.
As of Sunday morning, state and local fire marshals were on scene trying to determine what caused the blaze. Empty beer cans and other debris was found nearby, but firefighters said they were left there previously. There was also no obvious sign of a fire pit and the temperatures were very cold overnight between Saturday and Sunday, so investigators did not initially believe anyone had a party there.
“Right now, it’s too early to tell the cause,” Hanks said at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. “It’s still under investigation.”
The one-and-a-quarter-story house was 864 square feet and sits on 36 acres. It was built in the Old Style in 1924. The owner is listed on Naugatuck land records as Billy Carvalho, who was believed to have been trying to rent the property.
Carvalho could not immediately be reached for comment.
This is the second fire Naugatuck has responded to since Friday. On Friday afternoon into the evening, fire destroyed a large garage on Cotton Hollow Road where a woodworker kept his office.