Fairfield police: Bridgeport man charged for allegedly causing large blaze with fireworks
FAIRFIELD — A Bridgeport man has been arrested for allegedly starting a large fire in June near the Metro-North Railroad train tracks with fireworks, according to police.
Fairfield police Lt. Antonio Granata said Steven Botelho, a 38-year-old Laurel Avenue resident, was charged with reckless burning, second-degree reckless endangerment and illegal use of fireworks without a permit. He said Botelho lit off illegal fireworks that caused the blaze.
The fire occurred on June 21, a Sunday evening, and was called in just before 9 p.m., Granata said. He said the Fairfield Police Department received numerous reports of aerial fireworks in the area of Chestnut Street and Kings Highway in Fairfield.
“Patrol officers arrived on scene a short time later, and observed a large brush fire adjacent to the Metro-North train tracks, in a marsh area behind Chestnut Street,” Granata said.
According to Granata, the Fairfield Fire Department responded as the brush fire grew larger, placing nearby homes in danger. Firefighters from Bridgeport and Norwalk assisted in putting out the fire, which was brought under control by 10:30 p.m.
Granata said three Fairfield firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the brush fire, adding they were hospitalized briefly and released. In all, seven engine companies, three ladder trucks and a rescue squad battled the stubborn blaze from three different locations.
“The burned area stretched approximately 80 square yards, burning everything within,” Granata said.” The fire took place about 20 yards from nearby train tracks, and in close proximity to high tension wires and cables.”
Granata said investigators focused on a neighboring home, which witnesses reported was the origin of the launched fireworks. He said Botelho was identified as the person who lit off the illegal fireworks after an investigation consisting of witness statements, interviews and digital media.
The investigation was conducted by the Fairfield Police Department’s Detective Bureau, Granata said, with assistance from the Fairfield Fire Department the Connecticut State Police Fire and Explosion Unit.
Granata said Botelho cooperated with the investigation and turned himself into Fairfield police headquarters Monday. He is scheduled to appear in Bridgeport Superior Court on Sept. 23.
“The Fairfield Police Department would like to stress the importance of residents not attempting to create or engage in a fireworks display to avoid incidents like this occurring in the future,” Granata said.