Investigator testifies intense flames drove back firefighers at deadly Conn. home invasion

By John Christoffersen, AP
Friday, September 24, 2010

Witness: Home invasion flames drove back rescuers

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A state investigator says the fire set during a 2007 Connecticut home invasion in which a woman and her two daughters died was so intense it burst through windows and skylights and drove back firefighters.

Fire marshal’s investigator Paul Makuc (MAY’-cook) testified Friday at the New Haven trial of Steven Hayes, one of two men charged with capital felony murder, sexual assault and other crimes in the deaths of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela.

Authorities say Hawke-Petit was strangled, and her daughters died of smoke inhalation.

Makuc said firefighters found flames “rolling over their heads” and at first had to retreat.

Prosecutors say the attackers torched the Cheshire home to destroy evidence. The second man, Joshua Komisarjevsky (koh-mih-sar-JEV’-skee), awaits trial.

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