AP NEWS

New Milford: Cause of multi-family house fire ruled undetermined

May 17, 2019

NEW MILFORD — The cause of the Housatonic Avenue house fire that sent six people to the hospital Thursday has been ruled undetermined.

“The fire is listed undetermined because a cause cannot be classified unless you are able to eliminate all potential causes — leaving just one way the fire can start,” Fire Marshal Brian Ohmen said.

Investigators narrowed the cause of the two-alarm blaze down to two potential sources of ignition, Ohmen said.

“Because of that,” he said, “we have to leave the cause as undetermined.”

The fire at 101 Housatonic Ave. was called in around 2 a.m. The rear of the multi-family house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

All three New Milford fire companies responded to the scene, and Brookfield and Danbury sent mutual aid. It took a few hours for firefighters to get the fire under control.

Eleven people occupied the 2,600-square-foot home. All managed to get out before the fire intensified, but six were hospitalized with smoke inhalation and minor burns.

“The Red Cross came in to assist the residents with some immediate needs, and social services in the town have been assisting the families,” Ohmen said.

Investigators discovered three smoke detectors under a collapsed ceiling inside the house.

“We are very lucky that this fire yesterday didn’t end in a much different way,” Ohmen said.

The fire marshal said it’s crucial that people check their smoke detectors regularly, keep grills away from houses when cooking, and always properly dispose of smoking materials.

kendra.baker@hearst.com