The quick actions of two South Windsor public works employees prevented a tragedy Thursday when they put out a trash can fire at a Birch Hill Drive residence, according to town officials.
Maintainers Mark Hilton and Tim Cronin were driving by the residence at 21 Birch Hill Drive around 1:15 p.m. when they noticed a trash can that was on fire. The trash can was leaning up against the side of the home, according to an e-mail from South Windsor Volunteer Fire Department Chief Kevin Cooney.
Hilton and Cronin first called in the incident to the fire department, attempted to evacuate the home and then knocked down the fire themselves with snow on the ground, Cooney said. The side of the house was slightly damaged.
A 22-year-old woman was home at the time of the incident, but she was not aware of the fire until firefighters arrived.
“I am very confident that the actions of both Tim and Mark prevented further fire/smoke damage as well as possible injury/ loss of life to the occupant,” Cooney wrote in an e-mail.
Mayor Tom Delnicki expressed his thanks to Hilton, Cronin and the members of the volunteer fire department.
"As I have said before, We as a Town are only as good as our people and we are fortunate to have great people working for our town," Delnicki wrote in an e-mail. "In a time when some people may dismiss the outstanding services provided by the Town and claim they want 'things' instead, I say 'Keep up the Good Work!' I'll bet the people living on Birch Hill Drive are glad we have a great Public Works Department and a dedicated Volunteer Fire Department serving our community."
According to Public Works Street Services Division Manager Mark D. Owens, the fire was caused when the woman dumped fireplace coals in the trash can up against the house.
The South Windsor Volunteer Fire Department's Facebook page has the following message:
"Please: NEVER discard ashes from a wood stove/fire place into plastic containers."