Pet boarding

Westport pet boarding house fire investigation continues

WESTPORT — Investigators said they narrowed the area down to a second-floor apartment above a local dog and cat boarding house where a fire broke out Wednesday night.

Firefighters rescued around 50 dogs and cats from the facility, Townhouse for Dogs & Cats, on Post Road East. Officials say during the fire, residents of the apartment had to jump out of second-story windows to escape the blaze.

Now the city’s fire marshal says the pet boarding house may reopen soon.

Westport Fire Marshal Nathaniel Gibbons said the area where investigators believe the fire started is an outside porch or enclosed landing served by a stairwell on the west side of the building.

“We really like this area,” Gibbons said.

The fire is considered accidental, according to Gibbons, meaning no foul play is suspected.

Two pets belonging to the occupants of the second floor residence were killed in the fire. Gibbons said the family was very upset. “They lost everything,” he said. The loss of the two pets in the fire was also very traumatic for the child of the family.

The first-floor pet boarding house saw only smoke and water damage, Gibbons said. A cleaning crew has already worked at the business, which may be able to reopen if an electrician can restore power.

“We had to remove the meter from the building, obviously, power it down,” Gibbons said. “The upstairs apartment is on a sub-panel, and I told them ‘if you get an electrician to come…if they can confirm the upstairs is fully insulated, you can re-power downstairs.’ “”

“As long as this power is this clean, I will allow them to reoccupy them downstairs,” he added.

Firefighters often have a crew of electricians who shut off power to a structure during a fire, to minimize risk to personnel working to extinguish the fire.

The smoke damage and the fact that the business is used for animals means that the interior of the building needs to be cleaned, which the cleaning crew on site Thursday was there to do.

“I was there yesterday, they probably had half a dozen people there cleaning, vacuuming water off the floors, running dehumidifiers,” Gibbons said.

Workers could be seen transporting debris in black plastic bin bags on Thursday morning and loading it into a box truck parked outside the company.

Gibbons said the fire investigation is still ongoing and they have yet to determine the cause of the fire. Currently, the Office of the Fire Marshal is reviewing building records and permits, as well as licenses of anyone who worked on the building. The bureau is also waiting to see if insurance agencies get involved in the investigation and lend their resources.

“Our scene investigation is pretty much complete, we have an area of ​​origin that we are quite confident in,” he said. “But we don’t have a decision yet, and it may take some time.

First responders were dispatched to the scene at 1040 Post Road East around 11:43 p.m. Wednesday. Police arrived at the scene and reported a fire originating from the building.

Firefighters arrived on the scene and attacked the blaze with two lines. They also cut the roof off the building during the incident. A search of the building confirmed residents of the second-floor apartment had escaped, but firefighters said two dogs belonging to the family had perished.

Firefighters said the family was treated at the scene by Westport paramedics but did not require hospitalization.

The family, whose names have not been released, were alerted to the fire by a home fire alarm system that had recently been upgraded, Gibbons said in a statement on Thursday.