Officials: Driver Arrested After Crashing Into Home in Westbrook, Connecticut, Causing Fire

One man is in custody after crashing his car into a home in Westbrook, Connecticut, causing a fire early Sunday morning.

The fire broke out after Rodrigo Sousa, 23 of Old Saybrook, crashed his car into the vacant home on Boston Post Road just before 4:30 a.m., according to the fire department.

A neighbor was awoken by the sound of the car hitting the home, followed by a loud bang and what sounded like an explosion.

"I heard a large boom. I thought it was my furnace, and I looked out the window and I could see the flames on the house next door," Damien Ranelli said.

When he came outside, he said it "looked like it had collided with a gas main" that "ruptured and exploded" at the front corner of the unoccupied house.

As a result, crews from four area fire departments spent more than four hours putting out the fire on the property, dousing the gas main with water to keep the house from completely going up in flames. The house itself took minutes to contain and the car also caught fire.

"The gas company, we had to wait for them to arrive on scene, then bring a backhoe in, which took an extended period of time, then to find the actual shutoff it was underneath the car, so we had to actually move the car," Westbrook Fire Chief Michael Jenkins said.

The home was structurally damaged on the side and there was also a lot of water damage, Jenkins said.

Ranelli said that he thought someone was still inside the car when he got to the scene, but "thankfully no one was."

The home was built a couple years ago as part of a project to replicate a historic home that used to sit on the property, according to the neighbor.

Sousa was arrested and charged with traveling too fast, driving under the influence of alcohol and criminal mischief. 

Officials did not say whether Sousa was injured.

Sousa is scheduled to appear in court on February 13.

There were no injuries reported.

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