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Monday, September 24 News

Falling tree sets New Milford house on fire

NEW MILFORD — A couple and their pets escaped serious injuries when a tree crashed down on their house last week, causing it to erupt in flames.

Alex Quinn, who was asleep in the home at the time, said he woke up around 11 p.m. on Sept. 4 after hearing a loud crash. After inspecting the house, he discovered a huge tree had fallen onto the single family home, smashing through the roof.

“It brought down the electrical wires that were sitting next to the house and there were a lot of sparks,” Quinn said.

Within moments, the exterior of the home caught on fire.

“That’s when I knew we had to get out,” he said.

Quinn and his girlfriend grabbed what they could before fleeing the structure, including their 18-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Scout and two cats named Simi and Cleo.

The tree, which was nearly two feet in diameter at its base, snapped near the ground and fell on top of the single-story home on Route 7 near the Housatonic River.

There was no storm at the time and no apparent reason why the tree fell, authorities said.

Fire Marshal Brian Ohmen said the tree did significant damage to the home’s attic, but didn’t penetrate the ceiling.

Ohmen said responding firefighters quickly doused the flames before it spread to the rest of the home. Firefighters from several companies, including Water Witch, Gaylordsville and the Kent Volunteer Fire Department responded.

Quinn praised the work of the volunteer firefighters in knocking down the blaze and offering any assistance they could.

“They were really amazing,” he said. “There were at least 30 firefighters here, all volunteers, doing everything they could to help.”

Quinn, who had been renting the riverside home for nearly three years, said he had a small recording studio inside.

“The firefighters were able to cover all the equipment with tarps,” he said. “As a result, none of the equipment was damaged.”

They also asked Quinn and his girlfriend if they needed any other assistance.

“One guy realized we had a cat and said you’re going to need your litter,” Quinn said. “Next thing I know here is this 6-foot-tall firefighter coming out of the house with a bag of Tidy Cat in one hand and the litter box in the other. I just can’t say enough about how great they were.”

The animals were staying at a relative’s home while Quinn was working Wednesday with the American Red Cross. The home is unlivable.

Dirk Perrefort|Business Reporter

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