At least five people are believed to have been displaced late Monday morning by a fast-moving fire that destroyed one home in Middletown’s Parkside neighborhood and caused minor damages to several others.
No injuries were reported as a result of the fire, which began in a two-story, colonial-style home at 728 Idlewyld Drive just before 10:50 a.m., according to Frank Bailey, chief of Middletown’s Volunteer Hose Company.
The 5,375-square-foot home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived minutes later, he said, adding that the blaze was at that time threatening to spread next door to 730 Idlewyld Drive.
The occupants of both homes – including as many as three adults and two young children – had already escaped and were being tended to by neighbors, he said.
Firefighters immediately split into two teams, one of which battled the main fire, while the second worked to keep it from spreading to the neighboring home at 730 Idlewyld Drive.
“These guys did an amazing job keeping it contained and fortunately the second home suffered only minor heat and water damage,” Bailey said after firefighters were able extinguish the flames by 11:30 a.m. “The first home, however, was a total loss.”
After the flames were extinguished a town employee used a backhoe to bring down the remaining walls of 728 Idlewyld Drive to prevent them from collapsing on their own.
At least three other homes also suffered minor damage, mostly as a result of heat from the blaze melting vinyl siding on nearby houses.
The fire remained under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office Monday afternoon and a cause was not immediately known.
It also was not immediately known how many people were living at 728 Idlewyld Drive, although neighbors said it was occupied by five people, including three generations of a single family.
Neighbor Caroline Martin said three of the residents were home when she and her husband, John, spotted columns of smoke pouring from the home as they drove through the neighborhood.
“There was already thick black smoke coming from the kitchen area and we heard screaming,” the retired nurse said. “We found the grandma, grandpa and a toddler near the garage at the rear of the home, just sort of separated and in a state of complete panic. It was almost like they were frozen in place.”
Martin said her husband called 911 while she ran to the house and pulled the young girl from the steps leading from the garage to the interior of the home.
“I managed the coax the grandmom out of the house, while my husband got the grandfather to move their car away from the garage,” she said. “After we found out there was no one else in the house, we got them all to a neighbor’s house. I’m sure it only took a couple of minutes for the firefighters to get here but it seemed like forever. I kept thinking, ‘Where is everyone?’”
Page 2 of 2 - Neighbor Paul Lebanik said he saw the thick plume of smoke pouring out of a house less than a block away from his home and went to investigate.
“I got here just as the first fire truck was arriving, but by then it was just completely consumed by fire,” he said. “It’s just such a shame. It went up so fast – in five or ten minutes – that it’s got all the neighbors scared. The heat was so intense. From across the street, it felt like you were standing in front of a fireplace.”
West Middle Park Drive was closed to traffic for about 90 minutes while 120 volunteer firefighters from 10 area departments responded to the blaze.