House fire investigation underway on Falls Road in East Haddam


EAST HADDAM, Conn. (WTNH) — An overnight fire destroyed a house in the Moodus section of East Haddam early Friday morning.

Fire officials said there were no injuries or fatalities. Fire investigators are looking into the cause of the blaze, and neighbors said they are right to be suspicious.

Steve Stankowitz woke up at around 2 a.m. to a bright light coming from the house on the other side of Falls Road.

“I mean, there’s this big, huge ball of flame just going, and it was a matter of minutes before it just caught and destroyed the whole house,” Stankowitz said.

He called 911, and East Haddam firefighters arrived to find the house completely engulfed. They immediately called for mutual aid help because getting water on any fire in East Haddam is a challenge.

“We are a non-hydrant town, so we rely strictly on the tanker task force, tanker teams to shuttle water back and forth,” East Haddam Fire Chief Brian Auld said.

Eight different departments helped out but could not save the house. In daylight, it was clear there was nothing left of the top floor. A large team of investigators from the state police fire marshal’s office joined the local fire marshal to look for evidence of arson.

The house is for sale, and there was a tenant on the upper floor who neighbors said was refusing to leave. Stankowitz said a nasty eviction battle was going on after the homeowners moved out of the first floor.

“So, they decided to move somewhere else, but they were trying to get the tenant out upstairs,” Stankowitz said. “After trying to go through the court and all that, it must have dragged on, and this is what happened.”

News 8 asked the fire chief if he had heard about any threats or bad blood between the tenant and the homeowners. He said that question will be answered by fire investigators once they determine the cause of the fire.

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