Cat killed, residents displaced by nighttime fire in Occum

Norwich — A fire that apparently began in the kitchen of an Occum home left the interior a “total loss,” killed a family pet and displaced at least three residents Monday night, according to fire officials.

Occum Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bob LaChapelle said the call for the blaze at 18 Lillibridge Road came in about 8:30 p.m. On arrival, firefighters saw heavy smoke pouring from the front of the house, prompting them to contact Taftville firefighters for assistance and request tankers from Lisbon and Baltic. There were no hydrants outside the home, which is at the far north end of the city.

Firefighters, LaChapelle said, knocked down the bulk of the fire in about 20 minutes. Because of the construction of the home, however, LaChapelle said firefighters had to open up all of its walls to ensure they reached each pocket of flames.

LaChapelle said he believes the blaze displaced three or four residents of the home. Taftville firefighters said crews transported occupants of the home to The William W. Backus Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.

A cat also died in the fire, LaChapelle said.

Property records show the two-story house belongs to Matthew and Elaine Kalinowski, who purchased it in May last year.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.


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