Old Greenwich Fire Victim's Condition Improves

Barbara Verboven remains in the Burn Center of Bridgeport Hospital in serious condition; investigation into the Oct. 2 fire continues.


The condition of the elderly Old Greenwich woman critically injured in a fire that was deliberately set in the home she shared with her son earlier this month, has improved.

According to a Bridgeport Hospital spokeswoman, Barbara Verboven's condition has been upgraded to serious. On Oct. 2 she was rushed to Stamford Hospital and then transferred to the Burn Center at Bridgeport suffering from burns and smoke inhalation. The 69-year-old retired Greenwich Board of Education employee had been in critical condition.

Greenwich Police spokesman Lt. Kraig Gray said that his department continues to review information and evidence they retrieved from the burned out home at 46 Havemeyer Ln. Verboven was rescued by Greenwich firefighters who found her beneath the covers of her bed on the first-floor of the home. Her 42-year-old son, Dean "Duke" Verboven was found on the floor beside the bed. He died from a gunshot wound to the head, which the Connecticut State Medical Examiner ruled was self-inflicted.

Fire Marshal James MacDonald said this week that while the fire was incendiary—or deliberately set—evidence of accelerants has not been found. However, exactly how the fire was set has not been determined.

"Having nobody to interview, we do not have a determination," MacDonald said. "We know nothing more today than we did the day after the fire," MacDonald added.

Shortly after the fire, officials said firefighting efforts were hampered by extreme clutter found both inside and outside the home. And it was that clutter that apparently was a concern to neighbors and social services workers who were scheduled to visit the family later that week. The fire was reported by neighbors who saw smoke pouring out windows of the two-story brick and vinyl-sided house about 7:09 a.m., Oct. 2. More than 60 firefighters fought the blaze.

Meanwhile, last week First Selectman Peter Tesei, who also is the town's fire commissioner, recognized the efforts of first-responders who rescued Barbara Verboven. As part of Greenwich Fire Services Day, Tesei issued citations to Deputy Fire Chief Brian Koczak, Lieutenants John Chimblo and Glen Krizan, and Firefighters Steve Casner, George Lattanzi, Shawn Murphy and Nate Schulde who "performed heroicly by rescuing" Barbara Verboven.


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