July 2, 2022

Police and Firefighters Respond to River Drowning in Chester, Structure Fire in Essex

CHESTER/ESSEX— The July 4th holiday week got off to a busy start for area emergency responders, with police and volunteer firefighters responding to a drowning in the Connecticut River off Chester Sunday and a fire that destroyed a house on Deep River Road in Essex Monday.

The fire at 55 Deep River Road, also known as Route 154, was reported by a passing motorist around 11:30 a.m. Monday. Essex Fire Chief Steven Olsen said the house was fully ablaze when firefighters arrived on the scene minutes later. Olsen said about 60 volunteer firefighters from Essex, Chester, Deep River, Old Saybrook and Westbrook had the fire contained within about an hour, despite an explosion that is believed to have been caused by a propane tank in the garage..

No one was in the house at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries to firefighters. Electric power was shut of in the vicinity, including the busy intersection on Main Street in Centerbrook, as firefighters battled the blaze. The house, which is owned by Richard and Joanne Faraci, was a total loss. The house was being rented by a family of four. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by state and local fire marshals.

In the Chester incident, state police divers are expected to resume a search in the Connecticut River Tuesday for 37-year-old Dariusz Czarnota of East Hampton. Police said Czarnota went under water around 2:30 p.m. Sunday while swimming about 50-feet from a dock at the Pattaconk Yacht Club to a boat operated by his brother. Strong currents in the area off the Chester Point Marina are believed to have pulled Czarnota under water.

Dive teams made up of state police and local volunteer firefighters searched the river until after dark Sunday and through the day Monday without finding Czarnota, who remains missing and presumed drowned.