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New Canaan House Fire Puts Focus on Dry Hydrants

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Issues with getting water to the scene of Sunday morning's fire on Fawn Lane have focused attention on adding more dry wells and underground tanks to rural areas of New Canaan.

The cause of Sunday’s fire at 43 Fawn Lane is still under investigation, Fire Marshal Fred Baker said Tuesday. The fire, which destroyed the home belonging to Dan Lee, apparently started in, on or under a deck. “There are several things we’re looking at,” Baker said. All four people in the split-level home made it out without injury.

The firefighters relied on water from pumper trucks that brought water to the scene, Baker said, causing some issues in putting out the fire. The nearest hydrant to the home is on Valley Road, about a half-mile away.

Baker said firefighters rely on “dry hydrants” or hydrants connected to nearby ponds and underground cisterns filled with finite supplies of water. So far, the town has about 15 dry hydrants and roughly a half-dozen cisterns. Most were installed by residents, but the town placed them on Woodridge Circle and Wellesley Road, Baker said. Another dry hydrant is being planned for Braeburn Drive.  “We’re working on them all the time,” he said.

Baker said he frequently speaks with residents, contractors and insurance companies about adding dry hydrants in an effort to improve safety in town. Baker said the town supplies the pipes and fittings for a dry hydrant while the residents pay for the installation, which can be done by a private contractor. A new hydrant is required for any new subdivision built, he said.

“Something like this usually makes people more aware,” Baker said. “I’m available to talk with anyone about supplying one in their area.”

First Selectman Robert Mallozzi III, who is a former town firefighter, said it's definitely a goal for the town to add more dry hydrants to improve safety. Baker "has been extremely proactive in that," he said. "Just since the time he's been here, we've installed at least three or four dry hydrants and two cisterns."

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