An electrician and his dog escaped injury after a fire badly damaged their apartment on Hawthorne Avenue in Derby Thursday.
Chris, an electrician who declined to give his last name, said he was sleeping on his couch with the television on when he was awoken by a smoke alarm.
“There was smoke. I went back to the bedroom and there was smoke everywhere and flames shooting up,” he said.
Chris got his dog, Buddy, and ran out of the apartment.
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Chris’ face was covered in soot from the fire, but he said he was not injured and declined medical attention.
A neighbor, Patsy Gerckens, walked through the snow and offered to help Chris and his dog.
The fire marshal is investigating the cause and origin. Building inspector Carlo Sarmiento was at the scene as well.
The Derby Fire Department was sent to the scene — reported as 368 Hawthorne Ave. — at 7:53 a.m.
“The structure was fully involved when we arrived. The interior is totally gutted,” Derby Fire Department Chief Thomas Lenart, Jr. said.
The apartment was small, about 10 feet by 20 feet, and sat about 10 feet behind a vacant single-family residence.
“The house next to it suffered some minor melting of the siding,” Lenart said.
Shelton firefighters were called in for mutual aid. No firefighters were injured.
Temperatures hovered around 18 degrees during the fire.
Online assessor records list the owner of the property as the Caridi family of Derby.