Fire guts Kent home

(Original publication: January 16, 2005)

Fire investigators suspect faulty electrical wiring caused a blaze that destroyed a Kent home yesterday morning.

Lake Carmel Fire Chief Rob Shannon said no one was home at the time of the fire at 832 Route 52, next door to the town of Kent's 2-month-old Police Department and Town Hall campus and across the street from the Lake Carmel Fire Department, which opened in 2003.

Firefighters responded within three minutes of receiving a call from neighbors who saw thick, dense smoke coming from the house. By that time, though, flames could already be seen coming out of the home's front windows. The proximity to the Fire Department was not enough to counter the fast-moving flames.

"It's the time of the call that's important," Shannon said.

The fire's cause remained under investigation, but Shannon said it appeared electrical in origin. "Something happened with the wiring in the wall," he said.

The homeowner, Louis Beltran, and two others who lived there had left the house about a half-hour before the fire began, Kent Police Detective Kevin Owens said.

In addition to Lake Carmel, Carmel, Brewster, Kent and East Fishkill departments responded to the fire, which began a few minutes after 9 a.m. Firefighters drew water from a retention pond on the other side of Route 52 to fight the blaze. Route 52 was closed for about a one-mile stretch between Horse Pound Road and Route 311 for two hours while the fire was fought.

The time of day the fire occurred, mid-morning as opposed to the middle of the night, probably contributed to the fact that there were no injuries, Shannon noted.

"Nobody got hurt," he said. "That's what's important."

Reach Brian Howard at or 914-666-6177.Reach Brian Howard at or 914-666-6177.


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Sunday, January 16, 2005