The boys of 322 Blake St. helped extinguish a fire engulfing a fence that divided two homes at 6 p.m. on Wednesday April 7. Ten- to twelve-foot flames swallowed the fence and began leaping elsewhere when they arrived, said SCSU junior business management major Mike Zanarini.
“We were just throwing a football around in the front yard and riding bikes when we saw smoke coming from two doors down,” he said. “We walked over to check it out and the fence was completely engulfed in flames. We were all pretty surprised—it was a real fire.”
The fire department dispatched several engines, arriving on the scene just in time to put out the fire before it consumed a garage and several limos near the fence, according to Zanarini, who called 911.
He said the owner of the limos lives in one of the homes adjacent to the fence and was panicking with a garden hose when Tim Massey, Max Feldman, John Lazar and Gary Testa got fire extinguishers to help put out the fire.
Battalion Chief Capt. Jim Stacy told the New Haven Independent he thought a cigarette probably ignited the fire because there was a lot of dry leaves and twigs close to the fence.
“I flick cigarette butts all of the time,” Zanarini said. “I don’t even think about it.”
Lazar, a senior geography major, said it was also his first experience dealing with a fire.
“We got it extinguished in roughly five to six minutes but when the fire department got there, they made sure it was completely out,” he said.“I’ll make sure people put their cigarettes out in the ash tray where they belong from now on.”
The New Haven Police Department closed down Blake Street and spent time tossing a football with the boys after the fire department finished the job.
Zanarini said both the fire department and police department thanked them for responding so quickly to the fire.
“We saw that the guy needed help,” he said. “No one really thought about what they were doing. They just
Participating in Special Olympics, Best Buddies, Relay 4 Life and frequently cleaning West Rock and donating blood, Zanarini said it was not out of the ordinary for the group to lend a hand to someone in need.
“We really care about our community,” he said.