Fire, car crash into building trigger emergency scramble
While a large contingent of firefighters was deployed to a fire early Monday afternoon at Post Road shopping center, at the same time a woman drove her car into the side of the Rite Aid pharmacy across the street, narrowly missing Selectman Kevin Kiley.
A shaken Kiley said he was on the sidewalk walking into Rite Aid at 1619 Post Road when he heard a car accelerate behind him. He said he got out of the way before the woman behind the wheel struck a column and then an exterior wall of the pharmacy. Police said she was taken to a hospital as a precaution.
Perez said the woman's driver license would be seized and she will have to undergo a review that includes two doctors before it can be re-issued. It will be up to the state Department of Motor Vehicles to approve if she gets her license back, he said.
The woman -- whose identity was not released -- did not appear to be injured. There was no serious damage to the building, according to town building officials.
Meanwhile, midday traffic on the Post Road downtown was badly snarled by both incidents, with fire trucks, ambulances and police cars at both scenes.
Town Building Official James Gilleran said the fire at 1580 Post Road -- reported about 12:30 p.m. -- appeared to have started in a bed of wood chips under a fence behind Wild Rice restaurant. The fence stands next to the D'Valda & Sirico Dance Centre in the shopping center that also houses The Pantry food store. Gilleran said flames traveled between the fence and the building, setting a few sections of siding on fire.
Fire officials said the blaze also spread to interior walls of the dance studio, and the studio and adjacent store fronts were evacuated. The fire was brought under control around 1:30 p.m.
Initial reports said smoke was detected in the dance studio, and smoke was showing from the roof when firefighters arrived on scene. One firefighter was treated for injuries to his leg at a hospital and released.
Based on initial reports, mutual-aid fire crews were dispatched from Westport, Bridgeport and Norwalk to provide backup for Fairfield firefighters, if needed.