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June 1, 2020
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Branford Fire Department at work at the scene of a morning house fire in Pawson Park on March 30. 

Pam Johnson/The Sound

Branford Fire Department at work at the scene of a morning house fire in Pawson Park on March 30. Pam Johnson/The Sound | Buy This Photo)

Branford FD Knocks Back House Fire; Family Safe

Published March 30, 2020

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A Branford family is safe after a fire broke out shortly before 8 a.m. at their Cottage Street home on Monday, March 30.

Branford Fire Department (BFD) was on the scene within minutes of receiving 911 calls from neighbors reporting the fire at approximately 7:46 a.m., Branford Fire Chief Thomas Mahoney told Zip06/The Sound, speaking at the scene following the conclusion of the fire.

The call brought in a large compliment of the town's fire apparatus including it's ladder truck to assist with the fire, which had spread from the first floor at back to the attic of the home.

"It was already in the attic when we got here. We had the ladder set up, but once it's already in the attic, we weren't going to put people on the roof. We had people on the inside, and they were able to get at it inside," said Mahoney, at which point the attic fire was also attacked from above by firefighters, using a hose hauled up the ladder.

Mahoney said the fire started low, in an exterior wall. Investigators are now working to determine if the fire started outside or inside the home. Firefighters also had to deal with less than optimal water supply in the small neighborhood, which is part of a waterfront area enclave at the end of a penninsula in Pawson Park.

"The biggest problem is water supply down here -- once we start flowing multiple lines and big lines like the ladder truck, that's when we were already starting to experience some water problems," said Mahoney. "So our priority was for lines on the interior because that's what protecting the firefighters. And they were able to access what was burning quicker."

Once the fire was out, firefighters stayed on the scene for about two hours to conduct extensive "overhaul," looking for any additional pockets of smoldering fire in the residence. The family was offered assistance from The Red Cross and will consider that option, said Mahoney.

Emergency Response in a Time of COVID-19

Mahoney said BFD is continuing to do its job amidst conditions imposed by COVID-19 precautions and restrictions. He also praised the town's professional and volunteer firefighters and medical emergency responders for their efforts during the pandemic.

"It's just more of an additional anxiety and stress level on behalf of our people, because we're used to operating on a more personal level, especially at medical calls. Now, we're showing up in masks and gowns, and sometimes fully encapsulated depending on people's symptoms," he said.

Reponse teams also working to maintain safe distances on calls.

"So it's not our usual efficient way of doing things, but I'm extremely proud of all our people. They've been phenomenal throughout this ongoing issue," said Mahoney.

Mahoney said his administrative team has been focusing on getting more personal protective equipment. He said the state gave them word this morning that some equipment will be available to pick up the afternoon of March 30.


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