Firefighters battle brush fire over weekend


PROSPECT — Prospect firefighters put in two days worth of work over the weekend to put out a brush fire on the Connecticut Water Company property.

Mayor Robert Chatfield, who is also the day commander of the Volunteer Fire Department of Prospect, said the department received a call about a fire on the property at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The fire was on the west side of the property, in the woods between the Prospect and Naugatuck town lines, Chatfield said.

 “Naugatuck got the original call because it was in close proximity to Naugatuck houses, which noticed smoke,” Assistant Fire Chief Bill Lauber said.

Lauber said the Naugatuck Fire Department called to alert Prospect of the fire and remained on the scene until 8:30 p.m., when Lauber called off firefighters after it became too dark to see. They returned to the scene at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday to finish the job, he said. The fire covered about three acres, Lauber said.

Chatfield said the department called for assistance Saturday from Bethany and Cheshire, but both were unable to provide any help because they were already assisting the Wallingford Fire Department with a fire at Sleeping Giant State Park.

Woodbridge firefighters covered the firehouse in Prospect on Saturday while firefighters from Beacon Hose Company No. 1 in Beacon Falls assisted with manpower and the use of an all-terrain vehicle known as a Gator, Chatfield said.

On Saturday, the department could only get to the fire through Porter Hill Road, Chatfield said. Firefighters accessed the fire on Sunday via a fire road on O&G Industries, Inc. property off of Salem Road, he said.

The department had originally tried this road on Saturday, but found that a berm had been constructed to keep dirt bikes from going into the woods, Chatfield said. A payloader was called to dig through the berm and move trees that had fallen over the fire road, he said.

Lauber said the department received assistance on Sunday from firefighters with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protections.

“We had five firefighters working with us to help mop up any hot spots we had left,” Lauber said.

Lauber said there were no injuries and firefighters left the scene around 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Prospect Fire Marshal Keith Griffin said the department found evidence of a campfire in the woods, which was most likely the cause. Either that or someone had dropped a lit cigarette while hiking in the woods, he said.

Lauber said conditions are right for brush fires to become dangerous.

“We haven’t seen any significant rain. Any spark that can start a fire can take off very quickly,” Lauber said.

Chatfield reminded people that there is no open burning in Prospect and urged people not to use fire pits or outdoor fire places until there has been a significant amount of rain.