Fire on Atkins Street Ext. in Meriden being investigated as ‘suspicious’

Fire on Atkins Street Ext. in Meriden being investigated as ‘suspicious’

MERIDEN — The city’s fire marshal is investigating the cause of a fire in a brick one-story home just hundreds of feet away from Nathan Hale Elementary School Tuesday evening. 

Shortly after 5:15 p.m. firefighters received a call reporting heavy smoke showing in the residence at 244 Atkins St. Extension. 

Chief Ken Morgan said the first arriving crews declared it an active fire scene. 

Firefighters who entered the home had trouble locating the fire initially because of heavy smoke and excessive heat. But once they had located the fire they had it under control in less than ten minutes. 

Some smoke could still be seen billowing out a few of the building’s windows, which had been smashed by crews in the firefighting effort. 

Neighbors and other onlookers, standing along nearby lawns and driveways, watched as firefighters knocked down.

Police blocked off vehicular traffic to the area around Atkins Street, with cruisers parked along North Wall Street and Converse Avenue. 

“Nobody was in the structure when we went in,” Morgan said. 

Mutual aid from Wallingford and Berlin provided station coverage while city firefighters were at the scene. 

City records list the property owners as Kristopher and Tiana Schonagel. Records show they had purchased the property in 2015. Neither person could be reached on Tuesday. 

While officials have not yet determined a cause of the fire, it is being treated as “suspicious,” Morgan said.

City Fire Marshal Steven Trella was not ready to make a determination on the fire’s cause.

“We’re not even that point. We’re going to be here for a while,” Trella said.