Firefighters had their hands full Wednesday night in Derby where two house fires broke out 15 minutes apart on opposite sides of town.
There were no injuries reported at either fire.
The first call was 9 p.m. at 53 Academy Hill Road, where a passerby noticed the top of a house on fire.
The family who lives in the house were inside watching a movie in front of their fire place when the good samaritan knocked on the door to alert them of the trouble.
Derby Fire Department Chief Michael Goodman said it was a chimney fire.
“A 3 × 3 area around the chimney was on fire,” Goodman said.
Getting to the flames coming from the 3-story, 80-year-old house was a challenge. Both trees and utility wires obstructed ladders.
Goodman said the family was advised to make alternate living arrangements for the night because although fire didn’t damage the lower falls — water did.
As firefighters were dousing hot spots on Academy Hill Road, a second call came in for a house fire, this time across town at 236 Olivia St.
The two calls were 18 minutes apart.
“We just had to manage how to get everybody split up,” Goodman said.
That involved calling in assistance from fire companies and EMS personnel from Ansonia and Shelton. They arrived within minutes.
Two fire engines were still in west Derby so handling the Olivia Street blaze was not a problem, Derby Assistant Fire Chief David Lenart said.
The Olivia Street fire was in the first-floor, front room of a two-family house at the corner of Olivia and Cottage.
No one was home in the apartment where the fire started, Lenart said.
A tenant in the second-floor apartment escaped without injury.
“Upon arrival there was heavy smoke coming from the first floor, on the left side. It appears to be contained to one room,” Lenart said.
The first floor had extensive smoke, fire and water damage. The second floor had smoke damage, the assistant chief said.
Two fires at the same time is unusual in Derby.
“One of the good things about the Valley is that we’re tight-knit and do mutual aid very well together,” Lenart said.
Correction: Derby FD initially reported a firefighter alerted the family on Academy Hill Road about the fire, but contacted The Valley Indy Thursday morning to say it was actually a passerby.
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