Trumbull man alerts sleeping homeowners to fire

Firefighters responded to Merrill Road around 6:50 a.m. Friday after multiple 911 calls for a shed fire that wasn’t far from the adjacent house.

Marissa Alter

Mar 19, 2024, 9:38 PM

Updated 31 days ago


A Trumbull man is being called an “angel,” after he alerted a sleeping couple to a fire on their property.
Firefighters responded to Merrill Road around 6:50 a.m. Friday after multiple 911 calls for a shed fire that wasn’t far from the adjacent house.
Jake Walsh made the first call. Walsh told News 12 he was driving home from the gym when he smelled a campfire.
“I started looking around, and out of my right window, I saw a fire starting to happen, so I went over there, checked it out, and it was starting to get bad when I got over there,” Walsh recalled. “I went and knocked on the door and got them out of the house, then called 911, tried to get them on scene as fast as possible.”
The shed was fully engulfed when crews arrived, and flames had spread to the home, according to Trumbull Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Director Megan Murphy.
Firefighters couldn’t save the shed. All that’s left is a burnt-out frame with the contents a charred mess. “At this time, the fire is being ruled as undetermined due to fact there are so many ignition sources in a shed,” Murphy explained.
The house is still standing, but damaged and uninhabitable for the time being. The homeowners, who’ve lived there for almost 48 years, told News 12 cleanup and repairs are expected to take nine to 10 months. They were too shaken up to go on camera but said they are “eternally grateful” to Walsh, their angel.
“There were a bunch of other people on the scene who helped out as well, so it's not just me,” Walsh responded. “It's everyone that was involved, everyone that helped.”
Walsh said he was in the right place at the right time. He told News 12 he happened to leave the gym earlier than normal on that morning.
“Fifteen to 20 minutes before I usually would,” Walsh stated. “If I see something, I’m going to act on it. I’m not the type to just take the back seat to someone else.”
Murphy told News 12 this is the time of year when shed fires increase.
“There's so many ignition sources in a shed—whether you have gasoline stored, you have power tools, batteries, battery chargers, electrical in these sheds,” Murphy said. “It's springtime, people are in their sheds. They're getting out their yard equipment.”
She explained people often don’t realize how hot the motors on that equipment, like lawn mowers, can become.
“They put their hot lawnmower back in their shed and unfortunately something falls on it. It may have combustion and have a fire start. People should really leave that type of equipment, anything that was running, anything that has a motor, outside to cool off for a while before it gets put back in their shed,” Murphy said.
She also reminded people not to keep extension cords always plugged into a power source and advised them not to leave batteries on charge for days on end.

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