Large Fire Damages Tobacco Barn, 5 Houses

By Stephanie O'Connell, Seth Lemon and LeAnne
|  Friday, Apr 18, 2014  |  Updated 12:11 PM EDT
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Crews from six departments spent most of the night and morning fighting a fire near Elm Street and Grove Drive in East Windsor.

Crews from six departments spent most of the night and morning fighting a fire near Elm Street and Grove Drive in East Windsor.

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Fire Damages East Windsor Tobacco Barn and Houses

The fire started early Friday morning and has displaced five families.
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The East Windsor Fire Department and firefighters from several nearby communities spent hours battling a large fire that has damaged a tobacco shed and nearby mobile homes, displacing five families.

Just after 1 a.m., the fire department responded to the intersection of Elm Street and Grove Drive for a fire.

The blaze has damaged a large tobacco barn that sits directly behind the Red Hill Park Community.and five nearby mobile homes.

According to the East Windsor Fire Chief, propane tanks at the mobile homes caught fire and two of them are still under a controlled burn.

"The whole trailer park was affected for a little while due to the power issue," Warehouse Point Fire Chief James Barton said, "But we were able to isolate it and get power back to the remaining trailers."

Tammy Schmidt and her daughter Caitlin escaped from their burning home and ran to knock on neighbors’ doors to wake them up.

"And everybody kept saying, 'Oh it’s only going to go two houses, and then it went three. And then, 'Oh it’s not going to go there.' And then next thing you know, it went four. Next thing you know, five houses," she said.

Laurie Goodhue, a resident, said a neighbor woke her up by pounding on the door because he thought the propane tanks were going to blow up.

"So he's like 'Get out of the house!' Then I just looked across the street and the barn was just engulfed," Goodhue said.

Main Street was closed for several hours as crews responded and mutual aid was called in from several fire departments, including Warehouse Point, Broad Brook, Enfield, Windsor Locks and South Windsor. Firefighters left the scene a little after 7 a.m.

East Windsor Ambulance and officials form the Windsor Locks Police Department also responded.

Fortunately, no one was hurt and the American Red Cross is helping four families find shelter.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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