New Canaan Fire Department Pursues ‘Automatic Mutual Aid’ with Neighboring Towns

New Canaan fire officials are drafting agreements with bordering municipalities in order to ensure that trained firefighters are getting to more potentially serious scenes even faster. As it is, the New Canaan Fire Department has automatic mutual aid with agencies in towns such as Wilton and Vista, N.Y. when it comes to structure fires. Yet in responding to other calls—such as residential fire alarms or reports of a possible carbon monoxide illness, the town’s response time to far-reaching corners of the town often exceeds the National Fire Prevention Association’s requirements, according to New Canaan Fire Chief Albe Bassett. 

“The travel distances are too far,” Bassett told members of the Fire Commission during their regular meeting, held Tuesday night at the firehouse on Main Street. With an automatic mutual aid agreement in place, trained firefighters from neighboring departments such as Stamford and Pound Ridge, N.Y. could get eyes on scene several minutes faster—an often critical window. Bassett said he studied NCFD’s response times and identified four “quadrants” of the town where help is needed, and that he’s “actively looking to get agreements with Pound Ridge, Vista, and Stamford to provide an automatic mutual aid engine for any emergency response.”

He provided the example of West Cross Road in New Canaan, which is located below the Merritt Parkway at the town’s southwestern border with Stamford.

Officials: Kitchen Fire at East Avenue Business Caused $70,000 in Damage

A Dec. 23 kitchen fire at an East Avenue business caused about $70,000 in damage, officials said this week. The fire at Fjord Fish Market was caused by a gas explosion, according to Fire Marshal Paul Payne. “It certainly was not intentional,” Payne said during his monthly update to members of the Fire Commission at their regular meeting, held at the firehouse on Main Street. “One of the workers there turned the wrong valve, they lit the pilot for the fryer, turned the wrong valve, let gas into the room, went to light the fryer, there was an explosion, it caught fire.”

The fire safety system kicked in properly and put out the fire, he said.

Fire Marshal Report: Updates on Canaan Parish, Country Club

Though the town has issued a permit for interior alterations for a new restaurant in the former Thali space at 87 Main St., officials say, the work still appears to be on hold. Plans for a new Japanese restaurant, Saiko, had come into the town just prior to the onset of COVID-19 virus. Demolition on the interior space had started but stalled, officials reported during the most recent meeting of the Fire Commission. The town also has issued a temporary Certificate of Occupancy for the Merrill Lynch offices at 2 Pine St., Fire Marshal Paul Payne reported at the Commission’s regular meeting, held Jan. 12 via videoconference.