United it stands: North Stonington fire, ambulance set to move into new state-of-the-art facility later this month

NORTH STONINGTON — Thermal imaging cameras helped firefighters identify and extinguish a fire that had extended from a chimney into an exterior wall of a Ryder Road home Wednesday night, allowing for a targeted response that limited damage.

North Stonington volunteer firefighters were called to the home at 125 Ryder Road at 8:38 p.m. When firefighters arrived, the family had already left the home as a precaution and were waiting in their van.

Fire Chief Charles Steinhart V said that the fire had appeared to be out, but the department used thermal cameras to assess the damage and discovered hot spots in an exterior wall between the garage, where the chimney was located, and the house. The attached garage is adjacent to the home's living room.

"The thermal images showed a section of heat within the wall," Steinhart said. "Our firefighters accessed the wall from inside the garage and were able to locate and extinguish the remaining fire."

The North Stonington Ambulance Association and Connecticut State Police also aided in the response. Members of the Pawcatuck Fire Department provided coverage at the station to allow for North Stonington volunteers to respond.

Steinhart said that by attacking the fire from the garage side, the fire department was able to leave the internal wall of the home intact and helped to avoid displacing the family. He credited the family with calling for assistance as soon as they realized something was wrong.

A fire marshal deemed the chimney "unusable," but allowed the family to return later that night after determining that the living section was not affected.

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