Lesson in Awareness:Two Dead in Presumed Vacant CT House Fire

Despite tin foil hats and other oddities, the house they occupied was considered vacant.

Firefighters in Waterbury, Connecticut responded to a house fire with reported explosion on 28 July. What makes it an interesting fire and one that prompts us to be aware of similar conditions is the description of the occupants. The couple residing at 78 Clover Street have been described as eccentric by some local news reports.

Audley Morgan and his daughter Suzette were known to cut their grass while wearing tin foil hats as well as ride bicycles with lights and sirens and carry umbrellas, rain or shine. Other oddities included shunning cellphones, computers and televisions. Morgan chose to run a generator and collect rain water instead of paying for public utilities.

Why We Search
News of vacant and abandoned structure fires, victims and dealing with the structures

Among these anomalies was a reclusion in recent years. This is possibly what led many, including the fire department, to believe the house was vacant, The initial reporting even stated that local authorities had to determine if the victims were occupants or squatters. Fire companies on the scene had difficulty making entry due to window bars and windows boarded up with plywood.

The seclusion and improvised home security is similar to that of Langley Collyer of the famous Collyer brothers. Langley was responsible for the booby traps and mazes in the Harlem brownstone he shared with his brother Homer. What is especially interesting in the Waterbury fire is that when the seclusion and outward appearance of the structure were combined, many believed the home was vacant.

"The building was considered to be a vacant structure. The power was shut off to the building and the building was fortified to keep vagrants or persons out," Asst. Fire Chief Mike Couture said."

By the end of the following day, investigators determined that neither hoarding nor squatting were linked to the couples' death, but murder suicide. Audley reportedly shot his daughter in the head, lit a couch on fire and then took his own life with one shot.

Consider such locations in your response area that may look neglected outwardly but might have an occupant inside. Levels IV and V of the Clutter Hoarding scale list visible signs of neglect which, in some ways, may resemble a vacant or abandoned structure.

  

References

Waterbury Police: Fire Set After Murder, Courant.com

Waterbury deaths ruled murder-suicide, WTNH

Waterbury Deaths Ruled Murder-Suicide, NBC Connecticut

Connecticut murder-suicide case remains under investigation, MassLive.com

Cops: Waterbury house fire that killed two may have been murder-suicide, NewsTimes.com

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Backstep Firefighter

“To provide a point of critical thought about certain acts and events in the fire service while incorporating behavioral education and commentary in a referenced format.”

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Comments
Michael Furci
Of Falsehoods and Agendas
Having watched numerous videos, and read the UL research, using SLICERS as another tool to be used sparingly is all that one should conclude. Great! the temperatures from the floor to the ceiling go down. Wonderful! But what all these "SLICER" advocates fail to talk about, which I believe is due to a lack of…
2015-05-19 15:18:58
Michael Furci
Why We Search
To not search would a dereliction of duty. In Lorain, Ohio, like many other cities, we've had fatalities in abandoned buildings and homes. Companies have pulled homeless individuals off balconies and out of windows. Firefighting is inherently a dangerous job. If you don't like that fact, do something else. If you're not going to search…
2015-05-16 14:13:37
Bull Run Retreat - 1861 - Fire Geezer
Firefighter Mentality Revisited
[…] Carey posted Firefighter Mentality Revisited that covers many of the elements missing from the union soldiers at this […]
2015-05-11 11:45:50
Bill Schnaekel
On The Job
Thanks, Greg. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed it and appreciate the feedback. Please be sure to look through all of the other articles here written by our friends. If you're feelin' squirrelly, check out the following sites on FB: Holding1and1 Firefighter Basics A View From the Front Seat Firefighter Behavior
2015-04-28 22:44:17
Greg Hall
On The Job
Bill, Your article hit the nail on the head. I think I just found a new Blog. Thanks
2015-04-18 02:51:05
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