Binney Lane Fire Cause Remains Undetermined

Fire Marshal says 'level of destruction' has prevented investigators from determining exact cause of fire that destroyed 3 homes during height of Hurricane Sandy.


Fire investigators will never know the exact cause of the fire that destroyed three Binney Lane homes in Old Greenwich during the height of Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29.

Greenwich Fire Marshal James Macdonald told Greenwich Patch, "The cause is going to remain undetermined. It is beyond our resources to determine the cause with the level of destruction there and the environment of the night."

Macdonald added, "The level of destruction was so massive. I don't think there was anything intentional." Prior to the residents of 45 Binney Lane discovering the fire, "there was an electrical event with the lights dimming," Macdonald added. "It was a stone house ... you can't sift through it. Because of the magnitude of the damage, we are leaving the cause as undetermined."

Insurance investigators concurred with the undetermined cause, Macdonald also said.

The magnitude of the damage meant all three homes on the Old Greenwich shorefront were razed the day after the fire which Greenwich firefighters were unable to control. Flames were buffetted by 80 mph winds coming in off Long Island Sound at the height of the storm, sending embers through the neighborhood. Waves crashed over seawalls forcing firefighters to retreat and to prevent the fire from spreading to adjacent homes in the private neighborhood of large homes on small lots along the narrow, driveway-like lanes.

The fire quickly spread from 45 Binney to the house at 44 and then to 36 Binney Lane. The three homes had a total assessed valuation of $13.7 million, according to Greenwich tax records.

Before Gov. Dannel Malloy and US Rep. Jim Himes toured the scene on Oct. 30, Greenwich Fire Chief Peter Siecienski said commended fire crews for their work in preventing the conflagration from spreading. "It could have been another Breezy Point," Siecienski said of the neighborhood at the tip of Rockaway Point in New York City where 100 homes were destroyed by a fire that started during the hurricane.

Despite the damage and fierce conditions, Siecienski said it was miraculous no one was injured in the blaze even as firefighters fought the blaze and simultaneously rescued about 20 residents who ignored the town's mandatory evacuation orders for the area.


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