Tiki Torch Embers May Have Sparked Devastating Suffield Fire

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Firefighters worked through the night and well into the morning beating down massive flames that destroyed a Suffield home and displaced four residents Thursday. (Published Friday, Jul 11, 2014)

    Firefighters worked through the night and well into the morning beating down massive flames that destroyed a Suffield home and displaced four residents Thursday into Friday.

    The blaze broke out at 3A Poole Road around 11:30 p.m. Thursday while four people were inside. Flames moved rapidly through the home and left behind only charred remains.

    All four residents made it out safely, but one woman was taken to the hospital for an evaluation and has since been released.

    "They got out but I could hear some crying, I could hear some yelling," said Suffield resident Sara Rock, whose son, a volunteer firefighter, was first on scene.

    The fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire but said he has ruled out arson. According to the chief, the fire may have started after embers from tiki torches fell into the mulch.

    Fire Chief Chuck Flynn said it appears that flames spread from the mulch to small trees surrounding the home, then jumped to the siding and engulfed the house.

    Neighbors at the scene said they awoke to what sounded like fireworks as flames got underway.

    "All I could see was this fireball that went a good hundred, 150 feet in the air. All you could see was the frame of teh house, period," said Paul Podosek, who watched the house burn with his son. "Then with the vinyl siding, it just added fuel to the fire and it kept going."

    Three dogs were rescued but a fourth still hadn't been found as of Friday afternoon. Family members said they tried desperately to get back inside to rescue the bulldog, Jack, but the fire was fast-moving and the smoke overwhelming.

    Fire quickly consumed the home. The heat of it flattened a family car, and all that's left among charred remains is a stone fireplace barely standing.

    Since there are no fire hydrants in the area, firefighters called in mutual aid from nine surrounding towns and used 1,800 feet of hose to access water from a nearby creek.

    "The house was halfway burned down before anyone even got there," Rock explained.

    Smoke was still rising from the home after 2:30 a.m. Firefighters had contained the blaze by morning but stayed to snuff out hot spots.

    The fire marshal was still on scene early Friday afternoon to make sure the flames wouldn't rekindle.

    Flynn said not much could have been done differently to salvage the home, and added that working smoke detectors likely saved the residents' lives.

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