Fire officials: Faulty generator switch, toxic chemicals caused destructive Pound Ridge house fire

Fire Department Chief Vincent Zafone said responding firefighters noticed an extremely high amount of chemical containers inside the home, which prompted them to call the county hazmat team.

News 12 Staff

Aug 13, 2023, 8:19 PM

Updated 278 days ago

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Investigators blamed a faulty generator switch and a large storage of toxic chemicals for a Sunday morning fire that tore through a Pound Ridge home.
Hazmat crews had to be called in to help as firefighters battled the blaze that reduced the residence on Salem Road to ashes.
Pound Ridge Volunteer Fire Department Chief Vincent Zafone said responding firefighters noticed an extremely high amount of chemical containers inside the home, which prompted them to call the county hazmat team. He said they determined that all the chemicals were used for candle and scent-making material that were highly flammable and potentially toxic.
Homeowner Arthur Marder denied that toxic chemicals were being stored indoors. He said there were oils that his wife uses to make candles and that they were on the other side of the home.
"I think it was the lightning last night that hit,” Marder said. “Last night we had very bad storms."
Marder said the fire started around 8 a.m. He thinks the house is a total loss.
Zafone, however, said extensive efforts from 20 different agencies had to be put into motion with additional help from a New York City hazmat team to deal with the threat of what he called "noxious chemicals."
Zafone said the Red Cross is assisting the family, who were able to escape the flames with their pet dog.
Marder said he’s not sure of where they will stay in the days ahead, but he’s forever grateful that the home had working smoke detectors.


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