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House fire 'intentionally set'

Cary Ashby • Jul 19, 2019 at 10:00 PM

State authorities have determined the house fire Wednesday in Norwalk was an arson.

The fire occurred at 29 Grand Ave. about 12:30 p.m. The home was vacant and abandoned at the time.

“It was an intentionally set fire,” said Brian Bohnert, spokesman with the state fire marshal’s office.

The investigation is being conducted jointly by the state fire marshal’s office and the Norwalk police and fire departments. About a dozen firefighters arrived in two engines and one ladder, rescue and command vehicle each. They had the blaze under control between 15 and 20 minutes after they arrived. North Central EMS and Norwalk police also were at the scene.

“It looks like it started in that back kitchen hallway,” said Capt. Rick Perry, the interim fire chief.

By about 1:30 p.m., firefighters were handling the overhaul process and hitting hot spots with water. A state investigator arrived later and was at the scene about 2 1/2 hours. Perry said the fire department won’t receive any further information until the fire marshal releases the test results.

“The division of (the) state fire marshal’s fire and explosion investigation bureau is seeking tips from the public regarding an intentionally set fire at a home in Norwalk,” Bohnert said. “A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered by the Blue Ribbon Arson Committee for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the fire.”

A sign about the reward is posted under one of the windows.

“The state fire marshal actually posted it,” said Perry, who at the scene mentioned “there’s probably foul play because it’s abandoned.”

Capt. Brett Beers led the first group of firefighters into the house.

“Upon arrival, there was heavy fire … coming through the whole back side of the house extending into the second floor,” he said Wednesday at the scene.

The extensive damage was contained to the back of the house and second floor. An estimate wasn’t available Thursday.

“The whole back is pretty well burned up; that’s where our crew met heavy smoke and fire,” Perry said.

Three North Central EMS paramedics were at the scene.

“Flames were visible when we got here,” said paramedic supervisor Bryan Hamman, who noted the smoke was visible from a significant distance away.

Also on Grand Avenue were police Capt. Jim Fulton, Sgt. Michael Biller and Officer Briana Good. Fulton said they were there “for crowd and traffic control.”

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the state fire marshal’s tip line at 800-589-2728.

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