Published March 21. 2014 4:00PM Updated June 06. 2014 12:10PM
Stonington — A home on the 16-acre private Ram Island burned to the ground on Friday despite the efforts of firefighters arriving by boat.
The fire was first reported at 3:45 p.m. by someone who had spotted the plume of smoke from shore. Firefighters gathered at Noank Shipyard and boarded Mystic Fire Department’s firefighting boat, the only firefighting tool available to battle a fire on the island.
Mystic Fire Chief Frank “Fritz” Hilbert said the fire at the ranch-style home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived and past the point where the structure could be saved.
Town records show the home is owned by the Ragsdale family and built in 1978. Hilbert said no one was home at the time of the fire, and livestock on the island were not in immediate danger. A barn on the island burned last February.
Hilbert said some of the Ragsdale family had gone to the island during the firefighting efforts to check on livestock.
Mystic firefighters were joined at the scene by firefighters from Noank, the Quaimbaug Fire Department in Stonington and Groton Long Point. Groton Long Point also had a boat used to shuttle firefighters and equipment from shore to the island.
Firefighters docked the boat at the island and hauled hoses to the structure, pumping water from the shore to the remains of the home and surrounding areas to stop it from spreading.
Mystic’s boat, “essentially a floating firetruck,” pumps 2,000 gallons per minute, Hilbert said.
More firefighters arrived later from Old Mystic and Poquonnock Bridge in Groton for additional manpower.