PROSPECT — Two people and their dog were displaced when their house was destroyed by fire Monday night.
Flames were shooting from windows, doors and the roof when firefighters arrived at 14 Williams Drive minutes after getting the 6:30 p.m. call.
It took about 45 minutes to put the fire out. Some 45 firefighters from Prospect, Bethany and Cheshire worked on the blaze in temperatures that hovered near zero.
Assistant Fire Chief Bill Lauber said the two residents and a dog escaped the burning home before firefighters arrived.
The husband and wife, who were not identified, were taken to a hospital in Waterbury to be checked for smoke inhalation, Lauber said. The American Red Cross was called in to help, he said. The property owners were staying with a neighbor across the street while emergency medical technicians gave them oxygen.
Fire Marshal Keith Griffin said the couple was released Tuesday.
The town’s assessor’s records show the home is owned by Sally J. and William R. Asevica.
Griffin said power went out in the house, and the homeowner went to the basement to switch it back on. When he came up there was fire in the hallway.
Griffin said on Tuesday the fire was caused by water dripping on the master electric panel inside the house due to ice dams melting on the roof. The water caused the panel to short out and catch fire, he said
Griffin said the house was a “total loss.”
On a plastic sheet in the driveway of a neighboring home, two stuffed birds, their feathers burned in places, rested, the only few possessions rescued from the home. Griffin said the homeowner was a hunter and had an extensive taxidermy collection of exotic animals he had killed.
There was approximately $1 million worth of damage between the home and the stuffed animals, Griffin said.
The extreme cold made fighting the fire much more challenging. Firefighters’ suits were covered in thick ice from head to toe. Lauber said he rotated firefighters, including some 25 from Prospect, every half-hour, with firefighters retiring inside fire engines for short breaks from the biting cold.
Air canisters and other equipment seized from the cold. The fire department’s ladies auxiliary delivered hot coffee and warm pizza around 8:30 p.m. as firefighters remained on scene with temperatures expected to drop overnight to minus 6.
“I’m very proud of the guys I have here for the conditions they’re working under tonight,” Lauber said.
Luke Marshall contributed to this article.