Two fires in nine hours damage Kent homes

(Original publication: March 5, 2006)

Firefighters were called out to two house fires in nine hours yesterday in Kent.

A Lake Carmel firefighter suffered second and third degree burns on his neck and ear when a ceiling collapsed during the afternoon blaze.

He was treated and released — and made it to the second at 11:30 p.m.

The fire at 33 Laurie Court in Kent began in wiring inside the walls of the raised ranch house, said Fire Chief Robert Shannon.

A member of the family was on the phone with a neighbor at 2 p.m. when the phone began to crackle, Shannon said.

She walked into the kitchen-dining room area, smelled smoke and saw it coming out of the wall, so ran to a neighbor's house to call 911.

As the fire department arrived, flames were coming through the roof and the whole top floor was ablaze.

Apparently it was a massive electrical malfunction, Shannon said.

"We found a lot of wiring burning from the inside out inside the walls in the kitchen-dining room area that apparently had been burning for hours," he said. "The entire room probably ignited at one time."

About 100 firefighters responded from five companies including Carmel, Brewster, Kent, Patterson and East Fishkill.

Laurie Court is on top of a hill, where windy conditions made fighting the fire more difficult.

"The breeze was blowing the fire across the house," Shannon said.

The firefighter was injured when a falling ceiling knocked his helmet off. He was treated and released.

The Red Cross assisted the family.

It took about an hour to get the fire under control, Shannon said. The department was back in the firehouse by 6 p.m.

They were called back out to what was initially reported as a chimney fire at 19 Wesley Court.

The pipe from a woodburning stove had caught on fire.

"It was all clogged up," Shannon said.

Moreover, the fire had traveled inside a decorative cover made of wood, which had then ignited.

Reclassified as a structure fire, the blaze took about 30 minutes to extinguish.

About 40 firefighters from Lake Carmel and Carmel fire departments responded.

Read more about this story tomorrow in The Journal News.


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Sunday, March 5, 2006