Smoke billowed up from across the Housatonic River, bringing a haze to Route 34 in Oxford. Neighbors say at one point, they could only see about ten feet in front of them.
“I was in the garage doing some work. Then all of a sudden the power went off, and the next thing I know there was smoke all over the place,” said neighbor Giovanni Sanzo.
As the wind whipped Thursday afternoon, Oxford’s fire chief said a tree crashed down onto power lines that caused a line to snap and set fire to the dry brush.
“With the high winds and the high fire danger, this fire spreads very rapidly. It’s going on an uphill slope. The wind is blowing in the right direction to push it up the slopes, so you have to get ahead of the fire to extinguish it and slow it down from running further,” said Oxford Fire Chief Scott Pelletier.
That’s what dozens of firefighters did, hitting the brush fire that burned four acres from several different angles. While water wasn’t an issue with hydrants and tanker trucks at the ready, getting to the location proved challenging with several all-terrain vehicles deployed.
“From this current location that we’re at here, they stretched over 1,200 feet of forestry hose in to get to the head of the fire. There’s no real easy way into it,” said Pelletier.
“I was in a store in Derby, and I got a call from my next door neighbor here that there was a fire on the hill behind our house,” said neighbor Kim Sekelsky.
Sekelsky rushed home to grab her pup and saw fire trucks lined up along the road. While power was out in the neighborhood, no home was damaged by the flames.
Before long, crews had the brush fire under control, eliminating hot spots and soaking the ground to prevent the wind from sparking it up again.
“We’re very grateful for the fire department. They’re our heroes today for sure. Every day but especially today,” said Sekelsy.
About 50 firefighters were at the fire, including crews from Seymour. We’re told there were no injuries battling the fire.
A brush fire was also reported in Stratford Thursday afternoon.
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