2 Injured, 2 Dogs Perish As Fire Ravages Greenwich Apartment House [UPDATE]

7 residents lost their home in an early morning fire in the Chickahominy section of Greenwich.


Updated, 4:00 p.m., March 14:

Two residents were injured and two pet dogs were killed in an early morning fire that destroyed a three-family apartment house in the Chickahominy neighborhood of Greenwich on Thursday.

According to Greenwich Fire Deputy Chief Keith Millette, fire dispatchers received numerous calls reporting the fire at 4 a.m. There was some initial confusion about the fire location. The house fronts 99 Hamilton Ave., but also has a rear address of 68 Ritch Ave. Some callers reported the fire being on Ritch Avenue near Byram Shore Park, according to Millette.

"As soon as I got of the (Horseneck Lane) station I knew we had a fire, I could smell the smoke," Millette said. As firefighters arrived, there was fire pouring out the second- and third-floor windows of the three-story wood frame building, Millette said.

"We immediately went to work making sure everybody was out, and trying to put the fire. They were small and tight apartments. There was a lot of fire to put out," Millette said.

Millette said a woman, one of seven residents of the building, was awakened by a smoke detector alarm and roused her neighbors. They all escaped. However, two residents suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation and were taken to the hospital for treatment, Millette said.

Millette said personnel from all town fire stations, except Old Greenwich, responded to the blaze. There were 19 career and at least 15 volunteer firefighters who were at the scene until after 9 a.m.

Carolyn Sherwin, a Red Cross volunteer, said that residents lost all of their belongings. Two families are staying with friends. The third family is a couple—the wife is one of the injured and her husband has been given emergency shelter by the Red Cross, Sherwin said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by fire marshals who could not be reached for comment.

Original story, 9:06 a.m., March 14:

Greenwich firefighters remain at the scene of a Thursday morning fire which destroyed a mutli-family home on Ritch Avenue in the Chickahominy section of Greenwich.

The fire at 16 Ritch Ave. was reported about 4 a.m. Thursday, and has left three families homeless, according to officials.

According to fire dispatches, fire crews and and fire investigators remain at the scene. Ritch Avenue backs up to Hamilton Avenue, which remains closed to traffic in the area of Livingston Place and Artic Street, according to police and fire dispatches. Hamilton Avenue had been closed and reopened to traffic when most equipment left the scene about 7 a.m. However, fire crews were sent back to the scene nearly an hour later, prompting another shutdown of the road.

It was not immediately known if there were any injuries.

The American Red Cross, reported they are working with six adults and a three-year-old child who lost their all of their belongings. Two pet dogs belonging to one family of three adults and the child, also were lost in the fire, according to Red Cross volunteer Carolyn Sherwin.


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Sherwin said, "With a fire like this, the most important thing is mental health and we already had staff reaching out to the families. The house is pretty much destroyed, our mental health volunteers are right on it."

Sherwin also said, "We’ll be doing follow-up with the families to make sure all their needs are met and work very closely with the landlord to help the family for long-term housing."

According to Sherwin, "The fire and police department called about 4:30 ... our volunteers were on the scene and a neighbor opened up the doors to let everyone from the cold and do the paperwork."

Greenwich Patch will have additional details as they become available.

While at the scene, a neighbor

Carol A. Smith March 14, 2013 at 02:15 PM
How do I find out more about mental health volunteers?
Carol A. Smith March 14, 2013 at 02:15 PM
What is the process of becoming a mental health volunteer?
Barbara Heins (Editor) March 14, 2013 at 02:55 PM
@ Carol: if you send your contact information to barbara.heins@patch.com, I will forward it to Carolyn Sherwin, the Red Cross volunteer coordinator.
Andrew Sindell March 14, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Carol-please contact me at andrew.sindell@redcross.org so we can talk about the process further! -Andrew Sindell Manager-Volunteer Resources and Youth Services American Red Cross
Barbara Heins (Editor) March 14, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Thank you for the information Andrew.


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