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Bethel Fire Marshal’s Office Releases Results of Investigations of Origin and Cause of Recent Bethel Fires Including School Bus Fires

Report by Paula Antolini, January 31, 2020, 2:54PM EDT

Today the Bethel Fire Marshal’s Office, directed by Bethel Fire Marshal Thomas Galliford, has released information on the results of an investigation of the origin and cause of the fires that occurred at 27 Henry Street on January 12, 2020 and at 4 Oak Ridge Road on January 24, 2020, in Bethel, the former being a property where school buses are parked.

FIRE at 27 Henry St:

The school bus fire that occurred around 212am on Sunday January 12, 2020 at 27 Henry Street was investigated by the Bethel Fire Marshal’s Office and Bethel Police Department to determine the origin and cause of the fire. Our office has also been working with First Student and their insurance investigator in a joint investigation.

The fire has been determined to be an unintentional fire. The exact ignition scenario has not been determined at this time but any intentional fire cause has been ruled out. It has been labeled as an accidental fire most likely caused by an electrical failure in the area of the engine compartment.

Due to high winds and close proximity to other buses, two additional buses were burned and damaged from the initial fire.

The actions of the Bethel PD officer quickly finding the source of the smoke and the fire departments efforts resulted in keeping the fire from spreading beyond the three buses, preventing a tremendous property loss.

FIRE at 4 Oak Ridge Rd:

The house fire on Friday January 24, 2020 at 0950am was investigated by the Bethel Fire Marshal’s Office, Bethel Police Department, and CT State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit to determine the origin and
cause of the fire.

The fire started in a basement bedroom and spread throughout the basement of the home into the main level.

The cause of the fire has been determined to be accidental, the result of improperly discarded or unattended smoking material.

The home suffered extensive structural damage and is uninhabitable. The American Red Cross responded and assisted the family with funds towards immediate needs and lodging, comfort kits, recovery envelope, blankets,
and community partner referrals.

The investigation revealed the lack of any working smoke alarms in the home and a delay in calling 911 immediately upon seeing smoke and flames.

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It is a good time to remind the residents of Bethel to have at least one smoke detector on each level of your home or apartment including the basement and to be sure your smoke alarms are working. They are truly the first line of defense in saving lives and limiting property damage when a fire breaks out.

Also- DO NOT DELAY in calling 911, even for a small fire that you feel can be extinguished quickly. Fire grows and spreads rapidly and you only have seconds to escape. Closing a door to a room where a fire starts helps to prevent the fire from spreading quickly as well.

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