Lucky response quashes backcountry house fire

Firefighters have extinguished a backcountry house fire with no injuries and minor structural damage, as engines returning from a previous call found themselves in the right place at the right time Thursday afternoon.

Shortly after 1 p.m., homeowners Barbara and Volker Bahnemann of 90 Porchuck Road noticed the smell of smoke in the air and dialed 911, thinking it was from another fire in the area. Coincidentally, firefighters from Station 8 had been dispatched to a home on nearby Cliffdale Road just prior. Returning to North Street along Porchuck Road, the firefighters too smelled smoke, said Assistant Chief Robert Kick.

It wasn’t until Barbara Bahnemann stepped out her front door that she discovered the source of the smoke: the attic cupola was on fire. An updated call went out to the Fire Department; the North Street firefighters received the dispatch, turned their engine around and were on scene less than a minute later.

Typical response time for the area would six to eight minutes, said Kick.

Tankers and engines from Cos Cob, Byram, Glenville, Banksville and Round Hill also responded, as well as Greenwich Emergency Medical Services and Greenwich Police units.

The Bahnemanns were able to gather their three dogs and pet bird and evacuate their home  without incident. By 2:00 p.m. the fire had been largely contained and was extinguished 30 minutes later.

Greenwich Fire did not yet have an indication of what caused the blaze as of Thursday afternoon.

Justin Pottle