WALLINGFORD — Sixteen-year-old Rachel Doak was sitting with a friend in the living room of her home at 34 Cornwell Road Friday evening when her dog Bailey signaled that something was wrong.
The dog relieved himself by the back door in the kitchen instead of waiting to be taken out, Doak said.
Doak and her friend went into the kitchen to see what had spooked the animal and immediately detected a smell of smoke as they moved from one room to another.
Dan Bufi, Doak’s friend, said that upon entering the kitchen, he and Doak could see a small fire burning in a pile of leaves through the room’s glass doors.
The pair promptly went outside and attempted to douse the flame with water bottles.
Doak said the fire disappeared after they poured water on it so, thinking their efforts were successful, they went back into the living room.
A little while later, they returned to the kitchen to find the fire had not only come back ,but grown.
“It was huge,” Doak said. “We saw it spreading to the house.”
At that point, Doak said she and Bufi got out of the house and called 911. No one else was home at the time.
Battalion Chief Joseph Czentnar of the Wallingford Fire Department said units received the call at 6:30 p.m. and were on the scene six minutes later.
Czentnar depicted the “aggressive interior attack” the department used to extinguish the blaze, which had traveled up the south side of the home all the way to the attic.
The department successfully doused the flames, Czentnar said, but not before the south side rooms were heavily damaged. Every floor of the home sustained damage from fire, smoke, and water, he said.
Czentnar said Doak and her family will be displaced due to the damage. He said he contacted the Red Cross for assistance on their behalf.
Twenty firefighters and seven department rescue vehicles responded to the fire, which did not result in any injuries, Czentnar said.
The incident is under investigation by the fire marshal’s office.