Accelerant-sniffing dogs called to post-fire scene on Howard Avenue in New Haven

Saturday, December 17, 2011

By Ann DeMatteo, Assistant Metro Editor

NEW HAVEN — A two-alarm fire damaged an unoccupied house that was being renovated at 439 Howard Ave. Saturday morning and by afternoon a State Police canine had been called in to sniff for accelerant.

The cause of the fire and where it began was being investigated by Deputy Fire Marshal Faustino Lopez.

A firefighter was sent to the hospital for exertion, said acting Batallion Chief William Gould.

Engine 11 first arrived at the scene at about 8:05 a.m. and found heavy smoke coming from the house, Gould said. Fire then advanced to the attic, and firefighters saw fire on each of the three floors. Five interior lines were used to put it out, Gould said. The fire burned through the roof and it partially collapsed.

A second alarm was called because more manpower was needed. The fire investigative unit, Rescue 2, Squad 2 and Truck 2 were at the scene.

A man, woman and four teen-agers were talking to public adjusters. One of the young people said the house was being renovated but no one wanted to talk to the press. They waited inside the porch of 433-435 Howard Ave. before talking to fire officials.

Gould said he understood work was being done on the second floor.

The large, white three-family home is one house away from the corner of Rosette Street and Howard Avenue.

According to the Vision Appraisal website, the three-family house was built in 1912 and is owned by Jeffrey Schaperow, who purchased it in July 2011. It was previously owned by the Farley Schaperow estate.

© 2011, a Journal Register Property

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