A brush fire quickly moved through several Hemingway Avenue lots late Friday afternoon — destroying a garage and storage container before firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control.
The fire, which began at about 4:15 p.m., appears to have started near the Rite Aid along Hemingway, Chief Doug Jackson reported.
"They had a report initially that it might have been an accidental start," Jackson said. "It was a flare or something. But it was not malicious, it was an accident."
About 10 minutes later, s Engine 1, and responded to the scene to provide mutual aid; Branford Deputy Chief John Masci and Captain Rick Hart also responded.
Due to this spring's and today's heavy breeze, the fire moved quickly along the ground once it was sparked, reported Jackson.
"The wind was blowing... coming out of the south, pushing it right along," Jackson said, motioning up Hemingway toward Dodge Avenue. The fire, he reported, spread about half-mile along the narrow wetlands, which span about three-quarters of a mile along Hemingway Avenue. The wetlands, mostly comprised of phragmites or marsh grass, are highly flammable said Jackson but added that they grow back even better afterwards.
The brush fire quickly spread, heavily damaging a storage container behind , as well as a nearby garage of a private home at 46 Hemingway Avenue.
"The storage container was completely gutted, it was fully involved," Jackson said.
From there, the fire moved on to a neighboring garage.
"The garage was heavily involved at the house next door," Jackson said. "And some other vehicles and things that were along the fence were melted — brand new jet skies and things like that... there was quite a bit of damage." He added that thefire would have a "pretty heafty price tag."
It's generally under control," he said. We have about another hour-and-a-half at the least to knock out all the hot spots. But we have enough forces here now to do that."