Curious New London student sounds fire alarm

New London - Anna Lindh was riding the school bus home Monday when the bus driver announced that she thought she saw a fire behind Gardiners Cemetery on Ocean Avenue.

When the 13-year-old got off the bus, she did her own investigating.

"I ran down the path through the cemetery to check it out because I was worried that someone was having a bonfire in the woods," Lindh said, standing near the two firetrucks stationed on Eastridge Road. "Then I saw it spread when the wind blew. I called my mom first and she said that I should call 911, so I did."

Lindh's call came in to police around 3:57 p.m., and she said she was surprised at how fast the fire department responded.

"I've never called 911 before so it was neat to see how it worked," Lindh said. "I ran down because I'm very nosy so I wanted to see what was going on. I'm glad I called when I did because it could have been a lot worse."

New London Fire Department Battalion Chief Marc Melanson said Monday evening that there were two fires in the woods behind the cemetery.

Melanson said that firefighters used between 400 and 450 feet of hose to reach the first fire behind the cemetery. "As we were finishing up with that the smoke was dissipating where we were and there was a larger amount of smoke being generated south of our location, where we then were able to locate another fire," Melanson said.

The second fire was deeper into the woods, and Melanson said firefighters had to enter the woods near the Mitchell College tennis courts on Montauk Avenue.

Two firetrucks, an ambulance and another emergency response vehicle left Eastridge Road around 4:45 p.m.

Melanson said that he called the police department because he was receiving reports that there were "civilians seen leaving that area at a rather brisk pace."

Police said Monday evening that there have been no arrests made in connection with the fire. The fire remains under investigation.

j.hanckel@theday.com

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