Cause of fire ‘electrical in nature’

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A fire burns at the estate of designer Louis Nichole April 5 on New Haven Road in Prospect. –CONTRIBUTED
A fire burns at the estate of designer Louis Nichole April 5 on New Haven Road in Prospect. –CONTRIBUTED

PROSPECT — Local and state fire marshals have determined the cause of a fire at the home of designer Louis Nichole on Friday to be electrical in nature.

Prospect Fire Marshal Keith Griffin said Tuesday the fire at 54 New Haven Road started in the northwest attic area.

He said on Saturday that the fire was accidental, but at that time the fire marshals continued to investigate the cause. Their investigation was completed Monday, he said.

The home, which among other uses once served as a country club, was bought by Nichole in the earlier ’80s. A Waterbury native, Nichole is an internationally acclaimed designer and craftsman.

Griffin later Tuesday still didn’t have a damage estimate, but reiterated it will be a multi-million-dollar loss.

“It’s probably going to be one of our most expensive losses,” Griffin said.

The fire destroyed a portion of the main structure, which is situated atop a hill off Route 69, he said. The other building on site wasn’t damaged.

The main structure is a L-shaped building, Griffin said.

On the north wing, there is a first and second floor and attic, he said. The fire didn’t touch below the second floor, he said. Structurally, the wing sustained smoke and water damage, Griffin said.

On the south wing, there is isn’t a second floor, but a first floor with a ceiling and attic above, Griffin said. This south side, which contained a main dining room, kitchen and sunroom, was destroyed, he said.

Fire Chief Jay Kolodziej has said he believes this is the largest residential fire Prospect has ever had.

No one was injured in the fire, which was called in at about 4:30 p.m., fire officials said. About 100 firefighters from 11 towns responded. The majority of the fire was knocked down by 10 p.m.

Nichole was outside of the property by the time Kolodziej arrived, the fire chief said.

Griffin said Nichole, who lives alone, is staying in the building that wasn’t damaged.