UPDATE: Investigators pinpoint origin of fire above Westport kennel

Westport Fire Marshal Nathaniel Gibbons told News 12 the fire began outside their second-floor apartment over Town House for Dogs and Cats in the landing area by the door.

Marissa Alter

Apr 22, 2022, 10:33 PM

Updated 812 days ago

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Investigators have pinpointed the origin of a fire at a building that houses a pet boarding facility and led to the rescue of dozens of animals. A family living above it also escaped the flames. Westport Fire Marshal Nathaniel Gibbons told News 12 the fire began outside their second-floor apartment over Town House for Dogs and Cats in the landing area by the door.
"I don't have a particular cause yet. I can tell you what we look at. We look at electrical causes. There were lights and light switches that were on the stairs at the porch. There was a little bench outside that had some objects on that we're looking at -- a broken coffee cup, an ashtray, a pack of cigarettes -- things like that," Gibbons said.
He said the fire was accidental and foul play is not suspected. It happened just before midnight Wednesday at 1040 Post Road East.
"I got out here. I reported to the commander and his first words to me are 'animal rescue.' Firefighters and I went into the building, and the police—God bless Westport cops—they were already working on the dogs. They grabbed the dogs. We grabbed cats. We were putting the cats in boxes, in bags. It was a handful for 10 or 15 minutes," Gibbons said.
The family of three living in the apartment had already escaped from the second floor when firefighters arrived. Gibbons said they had been sleeping but were woken by the smoke alarm. He told News 12 they opened the door to leave but found the landing and stairs up in flames.
"So they turned around, they ran straight through the apartment to that rear window you see over that little addition. The woman climbed out the window, jumped down to the ground. The husband got the child out on the window, they lowered the child down, and the husband jumped off. They self-rescued, which was a good thing because they were running out of time," Gibbons explained.
He said when the family fled, they left the door open to the porch so the fire was able to enter their apartment quickly, and continue to burn inside. They lost everything, escaping with just the clothes on their backs. Their two dogs died in the fire, which Gibbons told News 12 has been traumatic for the child. A GoFundMe page to help the family get back on their feet has raised more than $8,000 so far.
Gibbons said the apartment itself will need a lot of renovation, while Townhouse for Dogs and Cats just sustained a little smoke and water damage and can continue to operate. Crews were out there the past two days cleaning everything up. In the meantime, the animals were moved to other areas of the kennel.


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