Couch fire contained to living room in drunk man's apartment

Cary Ashby • Nov 29, 2012 at 3:12 PM

A couch fire in an upstairs apartment where firefighters suspect the resident was smoking was contained to one room early Tuesday.

"It was just a couch burning," said Capt. Mike Alexander, of the Norwalk Fire Department. "There was really no extension anywhere. ... We didn't have to tear anything down."

The crew was notified about the fire at 59 W. Seminary St. at 1:17 a.m. Seven firefighters in three trucks responded two minutes later to the house that contains five apartments.

Alexander said the male resident was "highly intoxicated" and told him what happened. The man said he woke up, opened his bedroom door and when he saw smoke in the living room, he closed the door.

The resident then went through the bedroom window and jumped out of his apartment.

"That's a tall porch. ... By that time, someone else called (about the fire)," Alexander said. "I can't believe he jumped, but that's what he told me."

The man and other apartment occupants were outside the house when firefighters arrived. The victim directed firefighters to where his apartment was.

"He was out there when we got there. He showed us where to enter," Alexander said. "It worked out well for us -- the whole thing."

Firefighters entered the apartment and quickly extinguished the blaze.

"There was some smoke damage ... nothing structural," Alexander said.

The man told firefighters he has some family living nearby that he would stay with. Alexander said he believes the man will be able to live in his apartment, but will need to do some painting, replace the carpet and fumigate.

Firefighters estimate there was $13,000 total worth of property and contents damage.

"The other tenants went back in their apartments before we left. ... All the other apartments were OK," Alexander said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but isn't considered suspicious. Firefighters were on-scene for about an hour.

"We think it was smoking, but he wouldn't admit to it," Alexander said.

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