Montville brush fire extinguished after day-long battle

Sean D. Elliot/The Day Salem firefighters join the battle as a brush fire approaches homes along Hale Haven Court in Montville.

Montville — Firefighters managed to extinguish a brush fire Monday that burned as many as 10 acres of woods and grasslands in the area of Kitemaug and Point Breeze roads.

Fire Marshal Ray Occhialini said fire crews were packing up shortly before 5 p.m. after first responding to the area about 10:50 a.m. The cause of the fire remains under investigation though Occhialini said one homeowner witnessed a bird flying into the high tension power lines and “explode.”

Numerous area departments were called in to help fight the fire or cover stations throughout the day and saved a barn and two homes in the path of the fire, Occhialini said.

No evacuations were ordered in the sparsely built-up environs of Kitemaug Road, although traffic was not being allowed down the road during the firefighting efforts. Alternating dark and white smoke billowed over the area.

Utility repair crews responded to complete a damage assessment of a high-tension line in the area that initially was thought to have been involved in the blaze, said Frank Poirot, spokesman for Northeast Utilities. Contrary to early reports, he said, the 115,000-volt line did not come down but was deactivated.

Occhialini said the power line was later re-energized.

“We’re still gathering facts about what went on there this morning,” Poirot said.

Occhialini said a volunteer firefighter from the East Great Plain Fire Department in Norwich was taken to the hospital after complaining of chest pains.

Nathaniel Blackstone of 35 Hale Haven Court said he was at home with his three children when he went to get mail and noticed ash flying around.

“When I looked in the woods, there was thick black smoke, he said.

Blackstone called 911. He was told fire crews already were at the scene.

As the fire drew dangerous close to Blackstone’s house, firefighters doused the dry brush with water to prevent the fire from reaching the structure.

“It’s scary, he said. “I told the firefighters they can use my yard ... anything to protect the home.”

Hale Haven Court is lined on both sides of the street with single-family homes.

 

Day Staff Writers Izaskun E. Larraneta and Judy Benson contributed to this report.

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