NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Sophie, a Chihuahua mix, barked furiously as smoke and flames engulfed a grocery bag left too close to a pilot on a stove, according to the dog’s owner, The fire spread. After attempts to out out the fire with towels failed, the New Rochelle Fire Department was called.
Firefighters from NRFD Station 5, almost directly across the street from the fire scene at 501 Stratton Road, arrived within minutes and the fire was quickly knocked down.
One child was home, two others were on the way hone from school when the fire started. The children’s aunt had stopped by the house to wait for the children and drop off groceries.
The family self-evacuated. There no injuries.
The aunt told fire investigators that she was doing a favor for her brother-in-law, waiting for his three young chldren to get home from school. One was home and two were on their way when she said she brought some groceries inside the house. She said she put one of the bags down between a countertop and a stove. When she came back into the house, the youngest child, alerted by the dog, told her the bag was on fire. She attemted to cover the flames with towels but was unable to suppress the fire. She then called the fire department.
Despite the address, the house sits up on a hill in the woods off Pinebrook Boulevard near Stratton Road and is not visible from the street. To access the house, there is a 200 foot unpaved dirt and stone road. Firefighters ran a 5 inch house up the hill.
A man with some connection to the family drove a 12-passenger van up the hill, into an active fire scene. Coming up the hill he drove across the extended fire house, damaging the coupling. Firefightersincluding Fire Chief Louis DeMilgio were visibly upset that the man had driven into the fire scene and across the fire hose.
DiMiglio directed that a firefighter get the man’s name and license in order to send hin an invoice for the damaged hose. The man could not produce a valid driver’s license and the police were called. The man was arrested for driving without a license and taken into custody.