NFD responds to house, mulch fires

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:15 PM

A North Foster Street house fire caused about $100,000 worth of property damage Thursday afternoon. The two-unit home is considered a total loss.

"The downstairs resident had just come home and discovered the fire and that's who called," Norwalk Fire Chief Doug Coletta said at the scene. "Both of the families that were living there have been displaced."

One man lived in the downstairs apartment while a couple lived in the upstairs unit. The man was returning from his former Wooster Street home to retrieve more of his belongings when he discovered the blaze.

"He was just moving into that downstairs apartment," Coletta said. "The Red Cross came and took care of them."

Firefighters had the blaze, reported at 2:19 p.m., extinguished in about an hour and a half. The fire started with an electrical wire that goes from the basement through the first-floor bedroom, where the fire started, and into the attic. The bedroom is on the south side of 40 N. Foster St.

"I'd say we had it under control in about an hour," Coletta said.

The electrical fire is not considered suspicious.

"To be honest, it was a process of elimination," Coletta said this morning. "It was electrical in nature. We don't exactly know what caused it and probably never will because of the extent of the damage."

About the same time as the house fire, Capt. Bill Knadler and another firefighter responded to a mulch fire at 17 Corwin St. Knadler said a discarded cigarette started the fire that extended into the vinyl siding and subsiding, which was removed.

The mulch incident caused about $2,500 worth of property damage.

Coletta, while at the North Foster Street scene, described what happened when firefighters arrived two minutes after being called.

"We had heavy fire and smoke showing from the downstairs apartment. We made an attack. We had a couple guys go inside, a couple guys go outside attacking the fire. It's still under investigation," he said.

Four Milan Township firefighters assisted the 13 Norwalk crew members with overhauling the home and tearing out walls.

"When we say overhaul, the fire is out, but we're (handling) hot spots," Coletta explained. "It's one of those things that has to be done."

The chief was very proud of the job his firefighters did Thursday, admitting the station was "stretched" with both incidents.

"The guys worked really hard. They did a really good job," Coletta said.

The late George Washington Trendle was born at 40 N. Foster St. on July 4, 1884, local historian Henry Timman said, but in a different house. Timman said Trendle eventually moved to Detroit, where he became involved in the radio business and was involved in "The Lone Ranger" and "Green Hornet" radio shows. Both programs were made into TV series respectively in 1949 and 1966.

Trendle died in Grosse Pointe, Mich, on May 10, 1972.

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