Fire prompts animal probe

Published 10:58 pm Thursday, February 5, 2009

Firefighters investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a Pughsville Road home on Thursday found decomposing animal carcasses in the yard, and Suffolk Animal Control has joined the investigation.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue responded to the fire, in the 4000 block, just after 11 a.m. When they arrived, the home was engulfed in flames, and it took them about 40 minutes to bring the fire under control.

An investigation revealed that the homeowner was not actually staying in the home at the time of the fire, but was instead staying in an adjacent mobile home. On Thursday morning, he went into the home to get some things, built a fire in the wood stove and then fell asleep on the couch. When he awoke, the house was on fire.

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The homeowner was not injured, but family members took him to the hospital because of an unrelated medical condition. The Fire Marshal ruled the fire accidental, noting that it had started in the wood stove.

While on scene, firefighters discovered several animal carcasses, believed to be dogs and cats, outside the home. Because the animals were already decomposing, firefighters determined they were already dead when the fire started.

Pughsville Road was shut down in both directions for several hours while the fire was being extinguished, but the road had reopened by 3:30 p.m.