STAMFORD, Conn. — A large fire that damaged three houses near Stamford Hospital on Monday evening has been ruled an accident with the specific cause "undetermined," Fire Chief Trevor Roach said Thursday.
One of the houses sustained "extensive fire damage that most likely will result with it being totally demolished," Roach said in a statement Thursday. A total of 32 people were displaced by the fire.
The five-alarm fire began at 5:12 p.m. Monday in a small 5-foot by 7-foot room that had been built on a rear porch on the first-floor of 50 Alden St., he said.
An air conditioner, microwave and other items were plugged into a power strip via a long extension cord in the small but habitable room, he said.
The report details the damage to the multi-unit houses:
- 50 Alden St.: extensive fire damage that most likely will result with it being totally demolished.
- 46 Alden St.: exposure damage to the north side exterior, melting the vinyl siding completely off. Its second floor apartment and roof suffered damage as well.
- 46 Wright St: extensive fire damage to the south side exterior vinyl siding, but residents were able to remain.
The small room on the home at 50 Alden St. had a metal entrance door that collapsed under the weight of the upper floors of the porch, which collapsed during the fire, Roach said.
The room contained items such as air conditioner, carpet, a radiator-style heater, microwave oven, sleeping bed, and floor cabinet with cooking condiments.
Other debris included clothing as well as wires and an extension cord that was approximately 25 feet in length, Roach said.
"This extension cord had been reported by a resident who was familiar with the living space, stating that the extension cord was plugged into a power strip," he said. "The power strip was being used to turn on and off the appliances (air conditioner) and other electronics."
The Stamford Fire Marshal’s Office officially has labeled the cause of the fire as undetermined, Roach said.
"Based on interviews, the fire scene examination and videos observed prior to the fire, this fire remains at this time to be classified as accidental," Roach said. "Without absolute certainty, it is suspected that an ignition factor could be attributed to some sort of electrical source within the room on the rear porch. This fire highlights the dangers of overloaded extension cords and outlet strips.
"Appliances such as air conditioners, heating units and microwave should never be powered with these devices, the installation of an outlet supplied by the proper circuits should be installed by a licensed electrician whenever needed," he said.
Three civilians and four firefighters were taken to the hospital for evaluation as a result of the fire, which took 59 firefighters to extinguish, according to fire officials.
The fire investigation was conducted by the Stamford Fire Marshal’s Office.
Due to the high value of property loss and the number of displaced residents — 32 at the time of fire — the Stamford Fire Marshal’s Office solicited the assistance of the Connecticut State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit.
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