‘Hoarding was an issue’: 2 injured, woman and 2 pets dead following house fire in Chester


CHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — Officials are investigating after an elderly woman and two pets were killed in a house fire in Chester Sunday.

Crews responded to a house fire at 27 Ridge Road shortly after 9:30 a.m. Upon arrival, crews observed heavy black smoke and flames coming out of a single-family home.

Old Saybrook, Deep River, Killingworth, and Chester town fire departments reported to the fire.

The initial call reported two people trapped in the building: one person on the first floor, the other on the second. Chester Fire Chief James Grzybowski added that the rest of the family had made it out of the home on their own.

Connecticut State Police say one occupant that had made it out of the home attempted to run back into the home to rescue those trapped but was unsuccessful.

The person trapped on the second floor managed to jump out a window to the ground and sustained minor injuries.

WEB EXTRA: CSP, Chester Fire Marshal give update on Sunday’s fatal house fire

Chief Grzybowski confirmed there were three victims from the fire in total. Middlesex Hospital is treating two victims who are listed in stable condition with minor, non-life-threatening injuries.

The third victim – the victim reported trapped on the first floor of the home – has passed away from her injuries.

CSP identified the victim as the homeowner, Joan Carini, 76-years-old. She lived on the first floor due to difficulty with mobility, Dick Leighton, Chester’s fire marshal, confirmed.

Leighton said the occupants consisted of Carini’s daughter, her husband, and their kids.

Leighton said the home is well known to the fire department because “they have a lot of kids here.” He added, “Most of the firefighters know these houses and how to get in and how to get back out again. And the elderly lady that was residing on the first floor, we knew exactly where she lived on that floor and we were able to get right at her.”

He went on to say that the firefighters had difficulty getting to the second floor to fight the fire because the flames compromised the top of the staircase.

WEB EXTRA: Chester Fire Chief Grzybowski speaks to News 8 about the fatal house fire

“It is hard,” the chief said, “but the guys are trained very well. We were there within two minutes…They handled it very well.”

Several pets were rescued, but two pets – a dog and a cat – were reported dead following the fire, as well.

Chief Grzybowski adds that “hoarding was an issue.”

State Police, Chester Fire Department, and Emergency Medical Services were on the scene. State and local fire marshals are investigating. Currently, there is no reason to believe foul play was involved, CSP said.

Pleasant Street and Ridge Road is closed as crews investigate.

The extent of damage is unknown. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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