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House fire in Wood Acres community fills nearby streets with smoke

By Stewart Longsworth

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The house fire first alarmed neighbors with explosions from the garage and huge pillars of smoke that infested the air along the street. Photo courtesy of Raymond Tuchman.

A house fire near Wood Acres Elementary School May 25 gutted the garage and damaged the house with smoke before fire crews arrived around 6 p.m.  No one was injured.

“We looked and saw the garage was on fire, and it was really huge,” said freshman Madeline Simon, who witnessed the fire.  “You could see chunks of the car rolling down the driveway, on fire.”

Neighbor Kathy Tuchman alerted her husband Raymond to the smoke.  While Kathy called 911, Raymond ran over to the burning house to alert its owners, Michael and Anthea Conlon.

“I banged on their door and got them out of the house because they didn’t even know that it was on fire,” Raymond said.

Anthea had already noticed smoke and suspected a fire.  She, Michael and their two dogs escaped without injury.

“The smoke alarm didn’t go off until we were walking out the door,” Anthea said.

At least six fire engines, two ladder trucks, two ambulances, several police cars and a rescue crew arrived to put out the flames.  Firefighters smashed in windows and drenched the house with hoses in a successful effort to stop the blaze.

The garage burned, the entire house sustained smoke damage and first two floors have some water damage, deputy operations chief Mike McCarty said.  Fire crews pronounced the house uninhabitable, Anthea said.

Fire officials are still unsure what the cause of the fire was, but it appears to have started in the garage near the automobile, McCarthy said.

Michael Conlon arrived home in his car five minutes before the fire started, Raymond Tuchman said.

The Conlons will probably move to the house of Michael’s mother on Democracy Boulevard while the house is repaired. In the meantime, the Conlons are waiting to retrieve some of their possessions from the house, including phone chargers, shoes and ID.

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The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School
House fire in Wood Acres community fills nearby streets with smoke