Milford business owner loses house and dog in fire; effort to help underway

Firefighters got the call just after 4 p.m. on April 9 and arrived to find the home engulfed in flames.

Marissa Alter

Apr 17, 2024, 11:15 PM

Updated 30 days ago


A Milford business owner is grieving the loss of his home and one of his family's dogs after a massive fire.
A fence now surrounds what’s left of Michael Smith’s house on Patrick Drive in Seymour. A place once filled with love, laughter and memories is now a burned-out shell. Everything inside is charred, nothing salvageable.
“This was a catastrophic loss,” stated Seymour Fire Marshal Timm Willis.
“It just went up so quick. It burned so fast,” said Joseph Seymour, Smith’s business partner. “It’s heartbreaking.”
Firefighters got the call just after 4 p.m. on April 9 and arrived to find the home engulfed in flames, according to Willis. He told News 12 the fire chief immediately called in extra resources from Oxford, Ansonia and Beacon Falls, which brought about 75 firefighters to the scene. A propane tank ignited during the fire, and at one point, the roof collapsed. Willis also said the wind caused the flames to spread even quicker.
“It was a beautiful Connecticut spring day with a nice breeze that was moving from the rear of the structure to the front and unfortunately, it helped promulgate and move that fire through the building,” Willis explained. “Crews were able to go to an exterior attack, what's commonly referred to as a “surround and drown,” to extinguish the blaze.”
Smith, his wife and his mother were home when the fire began and made it out okay. But one of the family’s four dogs didn’t.
“They’re dog people. Emotionally, it's been a real struggle,” Seymour said. He told News 12 he drove to the scene that afternoon right away, which he described as unlike anything he’d ever seen.
Smith was born and raised in Milford, spending most of his life in the city until moving about a decade ago, according to Seymour. Smith is also an owner of Nantucket Embroidery Co. in Milford, a longtime business on the Post Road originally called Three Brothers Sport Shop. Seymour said the store and Smith have donated a lot to the community over the years.
“A very giving person,” Seymour said, adding that Smith is now the one in need of support.
A GoFundMe account is raising money to assist with the daunting task of starting over.
Willis said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but they've determined it began outside the back of the house in the patio area.

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