Evacuation lifted in Branford quarry fire

BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A fire in Branford lead to a neighborhood evacuation because explosives were dangerously close to the flames.

Smoke from a quarry blaze could be seen from miles away.

A fire broke out around 3 PM on Quarry Road in the Stony Creek section of Branford after rubber blasting mats and a vehicle caught fire.

“They were burning empty boxes, unfortunately the blaster used the fire extinguisher to put the fire out. And small embers remained,” said Shaun Heffernan, Assistant chief, Fire Marshall.

firefighters at quarry

The blaze prompted an evacuation. Branford residents living within a mile radius rushed to get out.

When asked what she grabbed, Branford resident Camille Golod said,”my laptop and my dog. We are heading to Guilford to my brother’s in-laws house.”

The fast moving fire was just feet away from explosives.

“We have one magazine of blasting caps and we have another magazine of anmo. Ammonium nitrate fuel mix,” said Heffernan.

Aerial photo of quarry fire from a drone operated by a fire department volunteer. (Photo: Peter Sachs)
Aerial photo of quarry fire from a drone operated by a fire department volunteer. (Photo: Peter Sachs)

Before sending firefighters to the scene, a drone was used to fly over the area giving crews a bird’s eye view.

“Because we couldn’t see what was exactly going on, I didn’t want to put any firefighters in danger, so we didn’t put anybody near a fire until we got a drone up there to look at it,” said Chief Ahern, Branford Fire Department.

Once the area was safe, firefighters brought in tanker trucks and a helping hand from the bomb squad, ATF and neighboring fire departments.

Branford fire trucks

“We cooled down the magazines with water and then we remove the explosives into a state police vehicle while we extinguish the area,” said Ahern.

Click here to check out our photo gallery from on the scene.

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