Garage fire spreads to home

A fire destroyed the garage and damaged the kitchen and attic of this house on Pearl Street in Naugatuck on Saturday night. –RA ARCHIVE
A fire destroyed the garage and damaged the kitchen and attic of this house on Pearl Road in Naugatuck on Saturday night. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — A garage fire spread to the kitchen and attic of a home at 41 Pearl Road on Saturday night.

The first engine arrived four minutes after the fire department received the 911 call at 7:40 p.m., according to Capt. Richard Alfes.

He said people were inside the 1,400-square-foot ranch when the fire broke out, but no one was injured.

It took firefighters about 20 minutes to wrestle the fire under control, Alfes said.

He said firefighters were on the scene for about three hours. The Naugatuck Fire Department called in mutual aid from Prospect in case of another fire.

“The guys did a great job putting it out,” Alfes said.

Sunday morning, a group of people gathered in front of the charred outline of the garage. Beige-colored vinyl siding had melted from the side of the house. A woman identified as the home’s owner declined to comment.

Alfes said the home is uninhabitable with extensive fire damage in the garage and kitchen, and smoke damage throughout the house.

He didn’t know how many people live there.

According to the Naugatuck assessor’s database, the home, built in 1950, is owned by Alan and Donna Hadzega.

On Tuesday, Fire Chief Ken Hanks said the cause of the fire was accidental. He said the homeowner’s son was working on a motorcycle in the garage. The son removed the motorcycle’s gas tank and put it on the floor. The tank still had gas in it, he said, and the vapors were ignited by a kerosene heater in the garage.

Hanks said gasoline vapors are heavier than air and will seek out the lowest point. In this case, he said, the heater was at the lowest point. Two cars also burned in the garage and there was some damage done to the neighboring home as well, Hanks said.

Elio Gugliotti contributed to this article.