As many readers already know, my Connecticut home was heavily damaged by fire on Monday. My family and I want to thank everyone for the words of support they've been sending our way, but we'd especially like to thank the Sharon, Connecticut fire department and all the other local fire departments who responded so quickly and did such a wonderful job. They saved our house.
The fire started yesterday afternoon. The first call to the fire department came at about 2:30 p.m. from an automatic alarm. A neighbor of mine also spotted smoke rising from the rear of the two-story house.
The flames were coming from an office on the first floor where I wrote a good portion of my book on Bernie Madoff, and that I often use on weekends when I appear on-air during breaking news. I was in the house, and working in that office, on Sunday less than 24 hours before the fire. Luckily no one was in the house when the fire started.
Firefighters told me later that by the time they arrived on the scene the fire was so intense that it was hard for them to get the door to the office open. They battled the blaze for more than an hour, using water from a nearby stream and from the pool in our backyard to douse the flames.
By the time I arrived the fire was already out. Though there was smoke damage throughout the building, and my office was destroyed, the firefighters had managed to keep the fire from spreading to other parts of the nearly 200-year-old building. There is no word yet on what started the blaze, but firefighters told me it looked like the cause might be electrical.
My family and I have owned the house since 1986, after Tom Brokaw introduced us to Litchfield County, and both Sharon and the house are special places to us. We spend most weekends and many summer days at the house, and because of the Sharon Fire Department we'll be able to enjoy it again someday soon. It's easy to take local volunteer fire departments for granted -- until something like this happens. I've covered lots of fires and other disasters in four decades as a reporter, and these men and women were as professional as they come. We will always be grateful.