Middlebury Mansion Fire Sparks Water Access Concerns

After firefighters had to travel far to find enough water to fight a Breakneck Road blaze that destroyed a Middlebury mansion about a month ago, questions have arisen about water access in town to fight future fires.

Crews shuttled water to the mansion in tankers from a mile away as they fought to put out the fire at the home of Larry Janesky, owner of Connecticut Basement in Seymour. But town officials said that's not an uncommon occurrence, where many homes are set far back from the road and far away from any bodies of water.

Town officials say it has been an ongoing problem and they have yet to find a resolution.

One idea is to have property owners have water tanks installed just in case, something that is required for new construction, but some residents question the cost.

“It’s a funding issue and I personally wouldn’t be able to pay for it,” resident Pam Quinn said. “If I had to, would they then tax me higher?”

In a phone conversation, First Selectman Edward B. St. John told NBC Connecticut that town officials have "considered installing water tanks in strategic areas around town, but funding has always been an issue."

"I’m not sure it’s feasible to go back and force someone to install their own," he said.

Nothing has been formally proposed, but what is left of the mansion is a reminder to many that the issue needs to be addressed.

“Luckily everybody got out safely, so just rebuild and let the politicians deal with the water issue,” Rich Massetti said.

Contact Us