Friday morning, a fire at 5 Manitock Hill Road destroyed the home and left four animals dead.
But for the Menghi family, it could have been a lot worse.
Thursday, Marsha Menghi, who owns the house at 5 Manitock Hill Road, went to visit her daughter, Dawn Hawthorne, in Salem. Hawthorne was going to drive Menghi home that night, but decided not to because of the predicted snow.
“I just had this bad feeling,” Hawthorne said. “I couldn’t shake it all night.”
The move may have saved Menghi’s life. At roughly 8:20 a.m., the house caught on fire, and “there was no way” Menghi would have gotten out, Hawthorne said.
As it was, Menghi’s son Louis Menghi was home. His cat’s meow awakened him as the fire broke out, and he managed to escape through the home’s window.
But the cat, two dogs and a bird died in the fire, and two firefighters suffered minor injuries fighting the flames. Also, the home is not insured, Hawthorne said.
“They wouldn’t insure (the home) because it wasn’t up to code,” Hawthorne said. “My brother was working on it to get it updated.”
Fighting The Fire
Fighting the fire proved difficult, said Jordan Fire Chief Tim Sullivan, who coordinated the effort. Manitock Hill Road is a narrow, dirt road, and it was slushy outside so the road was muddy, Sullivan said.
Full-size fire trucks could not get up the road to the house, so they stationed themselves on Fog Plain Road, Sullivan said. Hoses had to be cranked up approximately 600 feet to the house, and only smaller trucks could make it up to the fire, Sullivan said.
Two firefighters suffered minor injuries from falling in the slushy conditions, Sullivan said. One hurt his knee, and was sent to the hospital, and the other lost a tooth, and was sent to the dentist, Sullivan said.
After about 45 minutes, the fire was knocked down, and then firefighters began searching the inside of the home for hot spots, Jordan Assistant Deputy Chief Tim Condon said. All five Waterford fire houses responded to the scene, as well as a team from Electric Boat and another from East Lyme, Condon said.
Menghi lived in the home for about 34 years, Hawthorne said. Menghi and her family were at the scene, crying and hugging each other.
“You just lose all those memories,” Hawthorne said.
The Red Cross was on scene to help the Menghi family. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the fire marshal’s office, Sullivan said.