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police & fire

Chief: Old Greenwich Blaze Could Have Been Much Worse

One of three houses on Binney Lane in Old Greenwich was destroyed by fire during Hurricane Photo Credit: Eric Gendron
Residents of Binney Ln. and other parts of Old Greenwich survey the remains of the burned houses on Tuesday morning. Photo Credit: Eric Gendron
Crews go through the wreckage of one of the burned houses on Binney Lane in Old Greenwich. Photo Credit: Eric Gendron
A house on Binney Lane smolders after burning to the ground during the height of Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Eric Gendron

GREENWICH, Conn. – A fire that destroyed three large homes and a carriage house in Old Greenwich during the height of Hurricane Sandy could have been even more devastating if not for the efforts of Greenwich firefighters, Greenwich Fire Chief Peter J. Siecienski said.

"Crews were cut off by live wires and trees with surge coming up that was projected to be 12 feet," Siecienski said. "But they went back in with more crews to hold the fire to the third structure and by making that stop they probably stopped that fire from cutting a swath through Old Greenwich and many residences. In my 40 years of experience, it was probably the most heroic effort I've seen in putting out a fire."

Fire crews were evacuating people from houses who had not heeded the mandatory evacuation order for that area at the same time they were fighting the blaze, Siecienski said.

"It was the worst possible spot for a fire to start in, with the structure that was closest to the Sound," he said. "It came at a time in the storm when the winds were the worst, with gusts up to 70 to 80 mph."

None of the residents of the destroyed houses was hurt, but one emergency responder suffered a minor injury fighting the fire, according to Siecienski.

"I told them at the beginning they were heroes, but not superheroes," he said. "I may have to redefine that."

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