UPDATE: 'No Serial Arsonist,' Fire Marshal Says; Arson Suspected at Two Old Colchester Road Sites

Fire marshal calls fire a 'crime scene.' House was scene of two previous arson fires. Three firefighters were reported injured battling blaze at 24 Old Colchester Road Extension

UPDATE: Wednesday at 10:30 p.m.

With the fire out, the full investigation begins. A witness at the scene, who asked not to be identified, said he was aware of some "pretty suspicious activity" at the location early Wednesday. 

Given the fact that another structure fire on the same road essentially was deemed suspicious and investigators are looking at a possible arson at the 1127 Old Colchester Road fire of Monday, some have speculated there may be a serial arsonist on the loose.

"No. Absolutely not," said Fire Marshal Ray Occhialini. "These are not related in any way. These are both property specific. We do not have a serial arsonist out there.” 

Meanwhile, of the now three firefighters transported to the hospital, one was released, one may have had a pre-existing medical condition that was exacerbated and on the third, Occhialini said he has no information. 

At nearly 10:30 p.m., Occhialini and investigators from the state fire marshal's office, state police and Montville police were still on the scene finishing up photographing and videotaping. 

No one was in the house at the time of the fire.

According to records, the house was owned by Alfred Fratus and Angela Moreira; Occhialini said the owner passed away and the property was left to a relative. It was up for sale.

 A March 2012 fire was deemd intentional, Occhialini. 


UPDATE: Wednesday at 8:45 p.m.

When Oakdale Fire Chief Gary Murphy arrived at 24 Old Colchester Road Ext., Fire Marshal Raymond Occhialini said, the house was "fully involved" and engulfed in flames.

And so for the second time in as many days, an Old Colchester Road structure is gutted and in both cases, arson is not just suspected but a near certainty. And in the case of tonight's blaze, it's the third time for this location. 

"Due to the previous history, I've called in state police and the state fire marshal to help. Someone intentionally set fires at this house twice before. This looks to be the third time," Occhialini said.

No one was charged in either of the previous fires. Occhialini said this fire likely began at the back of the house. The previous fires were started outside; one by an electric meter and the other by the chimney. He said in one case, the fire was set the night before the house was set to be sold. 

"Is it a crime scene? Yes, it is," he said.

Indeed, crime scene tape was stretched across trees creating a perimeter several hundred feet from the house where deep tire tracks and impressions could be seen in the still visible slush and snow heading toward the house. Montville and State police, detectives and investigators were on the scene interviewing people and comparing notes and at one point, pulling Occhialini away to confer. 

With flames still visible and fire fighters perched atop ladders and several seen through soot stained window, the fire that was called in around 5:40 p.m. Wednesday, was still not fully extinguished by 7:30 p.m. 

Firefighters from all Montville departments -- Montville, Oakdale, Mohegan and Chesterfield -- as well as Gardner Lake, Bozrah and Salem were on scene and three separate perimeters were set up to keep people far away. 

Check back with Montville Patch for updates.

Original story:

Another Old Colchester Road fire is being reported. The structure at 24 Old Colchester Road is "fully involved" reports say with calls for buidling evacuations and a possible missing person.

Montville Patch is on the way to the scene.

Heather Kenniston November 29, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Are these " inside" jobs or should we all be standing watch of our homes as the sun sets?
JustSomeone00 November 29, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Arson is not a joke at all...and really, firemen were injured? They better get who did this before someone get seriously injured or dies. Shame on whoever did this.
Chris November 29, 2012 at 05:01 PM
What about the the police by the high school in the early evening ?
Montvillecitizen November 29, 2012 at 08:36 PM
OH people really!!! don't go getting all freaked ! Did you not read the article on the child care center, it's under foreclosure!! Can you say fire insurance. really does it have to be spelled out for you! And the house fire! This is the third time! yes the THIRD time it's burned, the father passed, and families being family , the survivors are fighting over what else would you think, no doubt money! the house was already sold to someone , closing in a few days! so people, listen to the fire marshall, no "erie serial arsonist" just people trying to play the system!
Montvillecitizen November 29, 2012 at 08:42 PM
People!! really! the child care center was under Foreclosure!!! And a fire starts on the outside in a strange place, ummmm....can you say fire insurance!! the house, was the THIRD TIME, yes the THIRD time it's burned!! the father passes, the family is fighting over what they think they should be getting, the house was sold and closing was in a few days for the new owners. so NO no "erie serial arsonist" just people (crazy people yes) which put all our firemen and police in danger due to they're delusional ideas of what is right, so, kudos to our firement and police for putting themselves in harms way for these IDIOTS!!!


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