Fire Destroys Home of 91-Year-Old Veteran in Wethersfield

By Ari Mason and Ryan Hanrahan
|  Monday, Dec 2, 2013  |  Updated 6:45 PM EDT
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Next door neighbor being hailed as a hero

Next door neighbor being hailed as a hero

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The home belonging to a 91-year-old World War II veteran in Wethersfield is destroyed after a raging fire swept through late Monday morning.

Fire personnel were dispatched to the scene around 11:30 a.m. and arrived to find the home at 81 Bittersweet Hill engulfed by flames. The fire spread quickly, and smoke was visible for miles.

Officials said the house is a loss. The home belonged to elderly veteran Joe Parracino, who made it out safely but was taken to the hospital as a precaution. Neighbors said Parracino didn't leave right away and instead tried to douse the flames in the garage.

"I said, Joe, come on, we've got to get out of there," said next-door neighbor Dave Obedzinski, who called 911 and helped guide Parracino to safety.

The house is just off of Prospect Street/Route 287, which was closed in both directions while fire officials worked to put out the flames. Most of the fire had been controlled by 12:15 p.m., but firefighters continued stamping out hot spots until 3:30 p.m., fire officials said.

Assessor's records show the house to be a nearly 2,500-square foot ranch.

Other neighbors are calling Obedzinski a hero.

"I wasn't expecting this at all," Obedzinski said, explaining that his actions were instinctual. "All of a sudden, you see this happen and you just react."

The fire marshal is investigating to determine the cause of the fire.

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