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  • Staff photo by Don Himsel

    The roof is gone over this part of 80 Maple Street in Wilton Monday, April 30, 2012 after the previous day's fatal fire ripped through the large home.
  • Photo by Kathy Cleveland

    Two firefighters take a brief breather while battling the three-alarm fire on Maple Street in Wilton Sunday that reportedly claimed one life.
Saturday, May 5, 2012

Authorities conclude investigation, confirm Wilton fire victim

WILTON – Authorities have formally identified the victim of a fatal fire and have ruled the manner of death a suicide.

Arnold Vance, 56, died Sunday after his Maple Street home burst into flames, Thomas Andrew, the state’s medical examiner, confirmed Friday.

Vance died from flame and smoke inhalation, Andrew wrote in a press release.

Authorities had previously declined to name the victim while they completed the investigation, but several sources said earlier in the week that Vance had died in the fire.

Firefighters from at least six towns responded to the blaze that started around 6 p.m. Sunday after neighbors reported seeing heavy smoke coming from the barn area. A barn-like garage and a nearby well were destroyed in the fire, and the main structure suffered heavy smoke and water damage, Wilton Fire Chief Ray Dick said earlier in the week.

Firefighters took about two hours to knock down the blaze, and one firefighter suffered minor burns to his face and hands, Dick said.

Town records list the property owner as Donna D. Crane. Neighbors said Crane and Vance lived in the house and are the parents of two young children.

A witness said Crane suffered burns on her hands and was taken to a hospital while neighbors and relatives cared for the children.

Jake Berry can be reached at 594-6402 or