GREENWICH — Firefighters worked through the day to extinguish a blaze that tore through a home on Whitney Drive in the northwest corner of town on Friday and left it uninhabitable.
No injuries were reported, but the damaging fire is certain to renew debate about emergency response times in the neighborhood, which lags behind other sections of Greenwich.
“On arrival, we had heavy smoke conditions and determined that fire was present on the first third of the main floor. It already extended up to the attic space,” Deputy Chief Brian Koczak said.
There are no hydrants in the area to draw water from, so the fire department relied on a “tanker relay” system, ferrying water from the nearby Tamarack Country Club to douse the flames.
“That whole water supply is a big thing to coordinate,” Koczak said. But there was no problem with getting water onto the flames: Tankers from departments in nearby Westchester County, N.Y., Banksville and Armonk, assisted in the operation.
The fire proved to be a stubborn one — it took an extensive effort to break through plywood and sheetrock to extinguish the flames in the attic of the large raised ranch home, he said. The fire was under control in about 45 minutes, and about 40 to 50 fire personnel took part in the daylong operation.
First Selectman Fred Camillo thanked the first-responders via Twitter on Friday afternoon, noting their “mission was complete without any injuries.”
No one was home at the time of the fire. The cause of the blaze at the home, in a neighborhood off the upper section of King Street near the Westchester County Airport, had not been determined Friday evening.
The fire department’s records showed that the call came in at 10:39 a.m., and the first unit arrived at 10:50, for a response time of 11 minutes.
Response times by firefighters to the northwestern quadrant of town has been a persistent concern in the neighborhood. Residents and leaders in northwest Greenwich have pushed for a fire station to be built closer to their homes, as the neighborhood has no dedicated fire facility based within it.
The engine company based in Glenville is closest to the northwest section of town, but it is several miles away from many residential areas. The scene of the fire on Friday was 5 miles from the Glenville engine company’s headquarters.
Former First Selectman Peter Tesei noted the issue on Twitter on Friday. While in office, he had pushed for a new fire station in the northwest corner but ran into opposition from budget-hawks in town government. The Representative Town Meeting did not approve funding proposed by Tesei.
“Good luck @Greenwich_Fire_ hope BET & RTM BOC had stop watches out to track response time to Northwest Greenwich!!. #SafetyFirst #GreenwichFirst be safe & thank you,” Tesei said on Twitter.
In the summer of 2018, it took firefighters 11 minutes to respond to a house fire at an unoccupied home at 1415 King St. No one was injured in that blaze, but the house was destroyed. The response time in many other sections of Greenwich averages about five minutes, or well under in some sections of the south end of town.
The house damaged in Friday’s fire was declared uninhabitable by the fire marshal after sustaining significant damage. The raised ranch house, with six bedrooms and four bathrooms, sold for $1.415 million in 2016, according to real-estate records. https://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/Greenwich-firefighters-working-a-house-fire-14921530.php