Fred Baker

Recent Articles

Fire Marshal: As Daylight Savings Nears, Remember To Change Fire, CO Alarm Batteries

Change your clocks—change your batteries. As it seems that this interminable winter will never end, we look for signs that better (that is, warmer) weather is approaching. One of those is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time which starts this weekend, officially at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 12. (Remember: “spring ahead, fall back.”)

In concert with the nationwide campaign “Change Your Clocks—Change Your Batteries,” the New Canaan Fire Department wants to remind everyone to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.

“There is no greater tragedy than one that could have been prevented.” —I can’t take credit for this statement however, I could not agree more and the tragedy of home fires with the devastation they create is a perfect example. And when the prevention is as easy as installing and maintaining smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, it becomes more ironic. Continue Reading →

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Fire Department Vehicle Gets Stuck in Un-Cleared Driveway During Response Late Monday

A New Canaan Fire Department vehicle while responding to a call on Monday night became stuck in a long, shared driveway on Mill Road that had not been cleared since a recent winter storm, officials said. Because the first NCFD engine became stuck in the driveway at 208 Mill Road—just over the Wilton town line—additional apparatus could not reach the home, according to New Canaan Fire Marshal Fred Baker. “Firefighters had to hand carry gear and equipment and water fire extinguishers to the scene,” Baker said. “Fortunately the fire was very small and firefighters were able to extinguish using portable water fire extinguishers and a garden hose.”

No one was injured. The call came in at 10:06 p.m. from a homeowner alerted by smoke alarms and smoke, according to the fire marshal. Continue Reading →

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MAP: New Canaan Fire Department’s ‘Dry Hydrant’ Needs

Town officials are calling on residents to check whether they’re located on streets that would benefit from a “dry hydrant,” following a garage fire in eastern New Canaan where the main house would have been jeopardized were the apparatus not installed. In the end, firefighters were able to control the Dec. 30 Cheese Spring Road blaze with tankers from the New Canaan Fire Department and surrounding towns. “But God forbid that fire had spread beyond the garage to the main body of the house,” Fire Marshal Fred Baker said. “Then we really would have needed a lot more water.”

And it was available (through about 3,000 feet of large-diameter hose) because a nearby Cheese Spring Road property had a dry hydrant—a pipe that typically runs from a source such as a lake or pond onto dry land and allows firefighters to pump out water. Continue Reading →

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Fire Marshal: Proper Response to Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Recently, the New Canaan Fire Department has been receiving calls for service from residents, stating: “I think my [carbon monoxide] detector is malfunctioning—it keeps beeping but everything is fine.”

When firefighters arrive they meter the home and find that, in fact, there are low levels of carbon monoxide or ‘CO’ present. That is the beauty of CO detectors—they alarm before the threat is dangerous to occupants. The device is doing its job. When a CO detector sounds it is important to call 911 and have the Fire Department come and test your home to make sure it is safe. Common causes of CO alarming is cars started in the garage and allowed to run for few minutes (even with the door open), malfunctioning heating system or water heater, gas log sets not burning properly, small engine appliances running outside of the structure (generators, lawn mowers, etc.). Continue Reading →

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PHOTOS: Two-Alarm Fire on Cheese Spring Road Friday Afternoon Engulfs Garage Roof [UPDATED]

Firefighters on Friday afternoon rushed to an eastern New Canaan residence to control a fire that fully engulfed the roof of a garage attached to a wood shingle home. No one was injured in the two-alarm Cheese Spring Road fire that came in at about 12:40 p.m., according to New Canaan Fire Department Assistant Chief Russ Kimes. “On arrival we found the garage roof was fully involved and our units began attacking it there,” Kimes told from the scene at 610 Cheese Spring Road, a home set back at the end of a long driveway near the street’s intersection with Benedict Hill Road and the Wilton town line. “We were able to contain it and protect the rest of the structure.”

The homeowners were home at the time of the fire, and they exited quickly with their two children and dog, according to Fire Marshal Fred Baker. It appears to have started with fireplace ashes placed in trash cans outside the garage, according to Baker. Continue Reading →

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