Fire leaves family homeless @
7 Quintard Avenue, S. Norwalk
Posted on 11/27/2010
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<a href="http://www.thehour.com/story/495128/">Fire leaves family homeless</a>
By STEVE KOBAK
Norwalk Hour Staff Writer
A family of four was displaced from their Quintard Avenue home Friday morning after a fire likely caused by an electrical malfunction damaged the third-floor and the roof of the house, fire officials said. Three of the four residents of the 7 Quintard Ave. home -- 83-year-old Beatrice Reed, her daughter Jetaun Boyd and her granddaughter Brittany Bines -- were home when the fire started, and all of them escaped the home without injuries. "Thank God I'm all right, and no one got hurt," said Reed, who has lived in the house since 1983. "I thank God that I have neighbors who will come and get me and give me a place to sit." The fire started in the walls on the third floor, and it spread to the underside of the roof, according to Norwalk Fire Department Deputy Chief Steven Shay. He said the cause of the fire was likely an electrical problem, but there was not an official ruling. Boyd, who lives on the third floor, said the electricity went out in her apartment, and she thought an electrical fuse blew. She went down to the basement and looked in the fuse box, but she could not locate the blown fuse. Boyd went back upstairs and unplugged her electrical devices. Five minutes later, Bines -- who is five-months pregnant -- began to smell smoke. A neighbor -- who did not wish to be identified -- saw smoke coming through the roof of the 7 Quintard Ave home while she was putting pies into her car, which was parked across the street from the house. She promptly alerted neighbors and called police. Two Quintard Avenue residents Rick White and Raphael Ortiz rushed into the smoke-filled house to assist the family in escaping the fire. "I'm not a hero," said White. "I'm just a neighbor." Reed said that Ortiz, who cuts grass free-of-charge for elderly and handicapped persons in the neighborhood, helped walk her down the stairs from her second-floor bedroom. "He's good to everybody," Reed said. Fire crews and police officers arrived at the scene shortly before 10 a.m. "By the time we got there, everybody was out," said Norwalk Police Sgt. James Boff. Shay said the fire was contained within a half-hour, but fire crews remained on scene to make sure the flames had not spread to other portions of the wall. Portions of the third floor were gutted, and firefighters poked a hole in the roof to battle the fire. Although the fire was contained to the third floor, the house was deemed unfit for occupancy because of the roof damage that it sustained, Shay said. Shay said broken windows were boarded up, and the electrical company shut off power to the house. The Red Cross will provide the family with hotel rooms for the next three days, according to Michele Deluca, head of the Office of Emergency Management. Neighbors offered support and assistance to the displaced family, as they watched firefighters extinguish the fire. Sandy and Klaus Schmitt, who live across the street from the family, made sure that Reed was warm and hydrated, covering her with a blanket and keeping her comfortable while she sat in their living room. "Everybody looks out for everyone else," said Sandy Schmitt. "When something like this happens, we get together." Virginia Guilfoyle, whose home is on Quintard Avenue, said she would like to see an organization like Habitat for Humanities rebuild the home for the displaced family. "When something like this happens around the holidays, it makes it even worse," she said. Those who wish to donate to the family can send gift cards from stores such as CVS, Wal-Mart, Stop and Shop, Kohl's and other local retailers to the Office of Emergency Management at 121 Connecticut Ave, Norwalk, Ct. 06854.