Quick actions save New Haven home from significantly more fire damage

NEW HAVEN - Nobody was injured, but an overnight fire in New Haven is serving as an important reminder.

The New Haven Fire Department says an improper use of an extension cord caused a three family residence at 322 Winthrop Ave. to catch fire at approximately 1 am Wednesday. And, while everyone escaped safely, thanks in part to smoke alarms, a lack of awareness hindered firefighters.

Each New Haven fire truck carries roughly 500 gallons of water.

"The average house fire, if we can get it in that early stage of growth, early stage, can be put out with less than 1,000 gallons of water," said Chief John Alston of the New Haven Fire Dept.

So, in theory, two trucks can put out a house fire.

"However, that’s not continuous water supply," notes Alston. "We have to hook up to a hydrant."

And, when a hydrant, like the one across the street from the burning residence, is blocked, it delays when firefighters can get in the building.

"I’m not gonna commit troops into that building unless we can continually provide them with water," Alston said.

The blocked hydrant, in this case, likely cost fire fighters approximately a minute and a half, Chief Alston says.

"We’ve got some excellent fire chauffeurs here in the city of New Haven who, last night, I don’t know if you were on the scene, were very creative in getting around that vehicle last night," said Alston.

Regarding whose car was blocking the hydrant, the Chief would not comment.

The residence is salvageable, according to Ray Saracco, the Supervisor of Fire Investigation, for the New Haven Fire Dept. He adds that firefighters cut a hole in the roof for ventilation. The electricity was cut off by the United Illuminating, due to the fire.