PHOTOS: Condo owner's son arrested at scene of two-alarm fire in Quechee
Charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest are being filed
QUECHEE LAKES - The adult son of the owner of a condo unit in the Landmark Village complex at Quechee Lakes was arrested Monday morning after he allegedly interfered with firefighting operations and then ended up in a "wrestling match" with a Hartford police sergeant who'd come to move him out of the way.
Ryan Selen, 27, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and may face an additional charge for impeding public officials, police said Monday afternoon.
Hartford Police Sgt. Jason Pedro said it appeared that Selen was upset with the speed of the emergency response to the fire; however, he said it was not clear what Selen thought he was going to gain by arguing with the firefighters while they were attempting to put out the fire.
"Apparently he got into a verbal altercation with one of the neighbors before anyone got there and then when the first firefighters got there he was a problem for them," Pedro said, noting, "They actually had to try and pull him away and he told them that he basically hoped they perished in the fire they were trying to put out in his house. He said something about, 'like in the movie 'Backdraft'."
Sgt. Pedro said that when he got to the scene he tried to move Selen further away from the fire trucks where crews were working and ended up in "a little scuffle" with Selen until another police officer arrived and help take Selen into custody.
"It doesn't make much sense," Sgt. Pedro said of the complaint, adding, "I thought (firefighters) got there super quick."
The fire heavily damaged the basement level of one of the four attached units in one of Landmark Village's buildings. The adjacent units on either side of Unit C where the fire began also appeared to have sustained smoke damage.
Neighbor Kara Dellacroce, who along with her husband Matthew has been one of the Landmark Village complex's "weekend warriors" for the past five years, was the first to call the fire in to dispatchers at 9:30 a.m.
"I dropped my kids off skiing and I came home," Dellacroce recalled. "I was walking down the walkway and there was black smoke coming out. The husband was still inside and his wife was outside yelling at him to come out."
"I called 911 first, because they didn't have phones, and then since my husband was home with family guests and a baby sitter we got them out of our house as well," Dellacroce said.
The Landmark Village complex sits on the other side of the golf course from the ski hill (visible in the background)
The cause of the fire was still under investigation late morning but it appeared to have begun in a bedroom area on the lowest level which neighbors said had recently undergone extensive renovations. The building is built into a slope so both the basement and the first floor open out onto the ground on opposite sides of the structure.
Ladder trucks parked in the "staging area" out on Murphy's Road
A ragged loom-up of thick brown smoke could be seen from the covered bridge in downtown Quechee as all of Hartford's firefighters were called out along with mutual aid companies from Woodstock, Hartland, Lebanon, Hanover, Plainfield, and Norwich.
The bulk of the fire was quickly knocked down. Firefighters chased the flames through a small kitchenette and laundry area next to the basement bedroom and pulled down walls and ceilings before the situation was declared under control at 10:10 a.m., approximately 40 minutes after it had been discovered.
Hartford Fire Chief Scott Cooney said the fire was largely contained to the area it originated in part because of a fast response.
"There were some off-duty personnel who were nearby and they quickly showed up on scene and reported heavy smoke coming from both the front and the rear of the building and the dispatcher automatically upgraded it to a second alarm based upon that information. They assisted in removing the people from the building," the chief said.
The first engine crew on scene was met with a heavy amount of smoke rolling from the front door but, after gaining entry, they quickly determined the fire was actually in the back of the building on the lower level and they pulled back and made another attack from the lower level, the chief explained.
Fire crews came from as far as Plainfield, New Hampshire to help with the second alarm
Norwich Chief Stephen Leinoff was one of several chief officers from neighboring towns who responded
Self-contained breathing air bottles and equipment laid out on tarps in the parking lot
Water pours out the back door of the condo unit as fire crews douse hotspots inside
Firefighters hauled out burnt furniture from the bedroom area on the basement level
Hartford Fire Captain David Shropshire (left) was off-duty but was nearby and got to the scene first - with Hartford Firefighter Bob Robishaw
Hanover Fire Chief Martin McMillan helped repack hose once the fire came under control
Correction: The story has been updated to reflect that the person who was arrested was the adult son of the condo owner, not the owner himself.
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